Food safety training for farmers to be offered May 23 at UAPB

A Food Safety Workshop emphasizing Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices certification for fruit and vegetable producers is scheduled for Thursday, May 23, at the S.J. Parker 1890 Extension Complex Auditorium at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

The workshop begins at 9:30 a.m. with registration. The first session begins at 10 a.m.

“Growers hoping to sell vegetables to local retailers, such as Walmart, Brookshires and Kroger, often find that retailers require them to have had a food safety audit before the retailer will purchase their produce,” said Henry English, head of the Small Farm Program at UAPB.

A food safety audit ensures that farmers are using Good Agricultural Practices, which minimize the chances of a consumer getting a foodborne illness as a result of eating fresh fruits and vegetables grown on a farm, English said.

“UAPB has a grant to help farmers pay for the audit,” English said.

Farmers must develop an approved food safety plan, which is required by the auditors, to be eligible for funding, he said. The grant will pay up to $1,000 per audit.

UAPB Extension associates are available to help producers develop a food safety plan.

They are Arlanda Jacobs, 714-5531; Carolyn Prowell, 489-5585; and multi-county agents Ernest Bradley, 295-7720; and Stephan Walker, 575-7237.

Preregistration is requested as lunch will be served. To preregister, call Kellye Luckette 575-7226.

The workshop is sponsored by the UAPB Small Farm Program in cooperation with the Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation.