Arizona leafy greens group improves food safety training

Arizona leafy greens group improves food safety training

The FSTK is a comprehensive training tool to address safe food handling practices in the field. The program is widely used by the leafy greens industry, and serves as a model for creating uniform standards and practices. 

The Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Training Kit (KSTK) has a new component specifically designed for supervisory roles and personnel who conduct daily field assessments.

‘Module 4: Pre-Harvest and Daily Harvest Environmental Assessments’ addresses the industry’s need to train those responsible for monitoring potential environmental contaminants.

“The development of this particular module was probably the most complex of all of our efforts,” said Vicki-Lynne Scott, technical subcommittee chair and board member of the Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee.

Scott said, “It’s highly technical, and covers a lot of ‘what-ifs’ as well as provides templates to encourage uniformity in monitoring.”

To beta-test the module, the Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee engaged agriculture students from Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz. The students sat through training sessions and provided feedback incorporated in the final product.

“We’re fortunate to have this group as a resource in our own backyard, and their insights were invaluable in the development of the final product,” Scott said.

More than 150 people have been trained in the new module in bilingual training sessions which occurred in late 2014 in Phoenix and Yuma.

The additional module is free to members of Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee. It is available for purchase for $30 in English or Spanish.

The FSTK is a comprehensive training tool that addresses safe food handling practices in the field. The program has been widely used by the leafy greens industry, and serves as a model for creating uniform standards and practices.

Since its inception, the organization has enhanced the program with new training tools including workplace posters and tailgate flip charts. Recently,  a video series was named a “Best New Food Safety Solution” finalist at United Fresh.

The program was designed to ensure compliance with federal regulations for food safety, including anticipated Food Safety Modernization Act standards.

The Arizona Leafy Greens is a consortium of shippers of Arizona leafy greens produce which use protective controls to ensure the integrity of leafy greens products grown and shipped from Arizona.

Arizona's leafy greens industry provides 75 percent of the leafy greens produce consumed in the U.S. and Canada from November through March. The $1 billion industry employs approximately 20,000 workers.

Arizona Leafy Greens includes 90 percent of the state’s growers and shippers in a volunteer network to proactively diffuse potential issues through an intricate system of checks and balances.

The program is administered by the Arizona Department of Agriculture and is closely monitored by USDA-licensed inspectors.

www.arizonaleafygreens.org

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