WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United Fresh Research & Education Foundation’s popular Produce Inspection Training Program is back for three more courses in 2010. These hands-on training sessions are designed to help produce industry receivers, handlers, buyers, shippers and sellers understand the fundamentals of the produce inspection process.
The Produce Inspection Training Program, developed by United Fresh in partnership with U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS), will be held February 22-26, June 7-11 and September 20-24, 2010 at the USDA Fresh Products Branch National Inspectors’ Training and Development Center in Fredericksburg, Va.
“This program provides a comprehensive overview of key USDA inspection procedures and standards,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of member services. “It combines a number of mediums for training such as lab work, classroom lectures, and discussion sessions, which allows participants to become fully engaged on these real-world topics.”
The program is taught by expert USDA trainers and offered in two specialized course, Fundamentals of Produce Inspection and Commodity Labs. Upon completion of both courses, attendees receive a certificate of recognition from United Fresh and USDA.
“The Fresh Products Branch is pleased to continue training the produce industry through this customized course,” said Robert Keeney, deputy administrator for fruit and vegetable programs, USDA-AMS. “Not only does this program enable our inspectors to work directly and share knowledge with members of the fresh produce industry, it also allows us to better understand the questions and challenges that face the private sector in their daily business.”
The first of the two courses, Fundamentals of Produce Inspection is a prerequisite of the Commodity Labs course and focuses on topics such as inspection essentials, PACA, sampling procedures, and general market principles. The three-day Commodity Labs course takes place in the lab and applies the principals learned in the fundamentals course to real product inspections. Each Commodity Labs course will include the five most commonly requested commodities: grapes, lettuces, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes, and will be customized with additional commodities based on the attendees’ most common preferences (up to 12 total).
Since its inception in 2002, over 600 industry professionals have participated in the program, with attendees continuing to provide positive feedback on the program.
The following course options are available in the coming year:
February 22-23, 2010 Fundamentals of Inspection
February 23-26, 2010 Commodity Labs
February 22-26, 2010 Both Courses
June 7-8, 2010 Fundamentals of Inspection
June 9-11, 2010 Commodity Labs
June 7-11, 2010 Both Courses
September 20-21, 2010 Fundamentals of Inspection
September 22-24, 2010 Commodity Labs
September 20-24, 2010 Both Courses
Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-served registration basis. For United Fresh members, the registration fee for the introductory course is $895; the advanced course is $1225. If both courses are taken together, members may register at the discounted rate of $1925. If three or more colleagues from the same United member company register for both courses, each will receive a discounted $1825 registration rate. For non-members, the prices are $1095, $1425, $2325 and $2225, respectively. Seminar registration fees include training seminars and all course materials.