BURTON, Ohio — A program on preventing microbial contamination on fruit and vegetable farms takes place in northeast Ohio on March 30. Hours are 1-4 p.m. at the Patterson Center, 14269 Claridon-Troy Road, in Burton in Geauga County.
Good Agricultural Practices, or GAPS, for fruit and vegetable production are the focus.
“The Food and Drug Administration will be releasing draft standards for safe production of fruits and vegetables later this year,” said Ashley Kulhanek of Ohio State University’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team, the program’s sponsor. “So it’s a good time to learn about GAPS.”
Attendees will receive a resource workbook, handouts, details on FamilyFarmed on-farm food safety planning tool, and a certificate of participation.
But Kulhanek said participants won’t actually become “certified in GAPS” by attending the program. That certification comes only through a farm audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or a third-party company.
“The program can help prepare you for an audit,” she said, “but find out if your customers are asking for education in GAPs or if they actually want an audit certificate, or both.”
Registration is $25 per person at the door, payable by cash or check, with checks made out to “OSP.”
The registration cost is lower than it was for similar programs last year, Kuhlanek said, thanks to a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.