A grower and an internal auditor look over records during a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audit. The grower is in the GroupGAP Program, which allows grower groups to pool their resources to establish food safety best practices, lead food safety trainings, develop quality management systems, and pay for certification costs. Photo courtesy of the Upper Peninsula Food Exchange.
Are you preparing to meet the new Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Produce Safety rule standards? Have you heard about Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs)? Maybe you’ve heard that they can get buyers to notice your products and improve your access to the market place – but you need more information to know if it can work for you.
USDA is hard at work connecting growers with training and resources to support GAP certification and expand their food safety know how. We’ve made big investments in food safety education for growers in recent years, supporting projects through AMS grant programs—the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, Federal-State Market Improvement Program, Farmers Market Promotion Program, and Local Food Promotion Program. Read more »
Know how to keep food safe before, during and after emergencies. Hurricanes, tornadoes, winter weather and other events may cause power outages. Follow these tips to help minimize food loss and reduce your risk of foodborne illness. (Click to view a larger version)
Every year, the month of September is recognized as National Preparedness Month. It is a good time to think about emergency planning for any disaster or emergency. Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make an Emergency Communication Plan.
Weather can be extremely unpredictable, as many communities throughout Louisiana can attest with the recent devastating flooding. These emergencies and disasters can happen anywhere. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t typically experience extreme weather, you still might experience occasional power outages. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service can help you plan and prepare for a power outage caused by a disaster or emergency with practical food safety guidance. You can keep this information in a place where you can quickly pull it out should you need it. Read more »
FNS is committed to providing school nutrition professionals with the tools they need to prevent and control norovirus outbreaks.
Can you believe that September is already here? It may not feel like fall where you are, but, slowly, our focus has begun to shift from summer fun to returning to school and learning.
For more than twenty years, September has been recognized as National Food Safety Education Month. The National Food Safety Education Month theme for 2016 is “Notorious Virus.” So what better time to consider learning more about food safety and, in particular, learning more about food safety education in the school environment? Read more »
About 5 million Americans suffer from foodborne illness each year. (iStock photo)
Today’s guest blog features the USDA-NIFA Food Virology Collaborative (NoroCORE- Norovirus Collaborative for Outreach, Research, and Education), a food safety initiative with the ultimate goal to reduce the burden of foodborne disease associated with viruses, particularly noroviruses. Norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States accounting for around 5 million of the 21 million annual cases associated with contaminated foods. Cost of illness is estimated to be billions of dollars per year.
By Dr. Elizabeth Bradshaw, NoroCORE extension associate, and Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus, NoroCORE scientific director
Even if you have not experienced a norovirus infection personally (consider yourself fortunate!), you probably know someone who has or have heard of an outbreak of the “stomach flu.” Most people know norovirus by its symptoms: a couple of memorable days of vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes with a fever and a headache. Read more »
USDA’s National Agricultural Library launches its latest Web exhibit “How Did We Can?” on home canning in the United States.
July is the height of summer grilling season, and throughout the month USDA is highlighting changes made to the U.S. food safety system over the course of this Administration. For an interactive look at USDA’s work to ensure your food is safe, visit the USDA Results project on Medium.com and read Chapter Seven: Safer Food and Greater Consumer Confidence.
The USDA’s National Agricultural Library (NAL) recently launched its newest online exhibit, “How Did We Can? —The Evolution of Home Canning Practices.” The exhibit follows the evolution of home canning in the United States and the progression of associated food safety guidelines. Canning aids in food preservation by removing microorganisms responsible for decay through heating and creating a seal to prevent recontamination. Home canning held an important role in 20th century food preservation, particularly through the two World Wars, and continues to be practiced today.
“How Did We Can?” highlights changes in home canning guidelines based on a growing understanding of bacteriology. Around the turn of the 20th century, the four most prominent canning techniques were oven, open-kettle, water bath, and pressure canning. By the end of World War II, the USDA recommended only two techniques: water bath for high-acid foods and pressure canning for low-acid foods. Those recommendations remain the same under the current USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning. Read more »
Dr. Dawn D. Walters, a public health veterinarian and current Enforcement, Investigations, and Analysis Officer for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discusses her role in food safety on tape.
Every month, USDA shares the story of a woman in agriculture who is leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. This month, we hear from Dr. Dawn D. Walters, a public health veterinarian and current Enforcement, Investigations, and Analysis Officer in Arizona. Dr. Walters has committed the past six years to food safety by working for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). With her big smile and enthusiastic personality (yes, I’ve been lucky enough to meet her), it is no surprise that Dr. Walters also serves as an outreach liaison for FSIS. Dr. Walters has also served as an interim Frontline Supervisor and the District Veterinary Medical Specialist. She received a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal and Poultry Science and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University. Read more »