Supply chain-wide alliance hosts food safety training for Hawaii produce growers

When growers gather for two food safety workshops to be held in Hawaii later this month, surely the scenery will be exceptional – and so is the collection of companies from across the fresh produce supply chain that are involved in the workshops.

Produce Marketing Association (PMA) will hold food safety workshops Sept. 18 on Hilo and Sept. 19 on Oahu; they are the latest in a grower-focused series begun by PMA in 2010. The Hawaii workshops are sponsored by wholesaler Costco and retailer Safeway, foodservice’s Sodexo and Subway and academia’s University of Hawaii at Manoa. Primus Labs and NSF Agriculture are food sponsors. Hawaii Department of Agriculture representatives will welcome attendees.

“These diverse organizations all understand the importance of food safety, and they are committed to this grower community,” says PMA Chief Science & Technology Officer Dr. Bob Whitaker. “They all want Hawaii’s growers to be as competitive as they can be in today’s stringent food-safety environment.”

Each workshop will cover the role of food safety, the importance of developing a food safety culture, components of a food safety program, the likely impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act and basics of risk assessment and third-party audits. Safe pesticide use will also be covered.

“Fresh and local produce is tremendously popular right now, but we must remember that above all consumers want to trust the quality and safety of the foods they buy,” says the workshops’ organizer, PMA Director, Food Safety & Technology Johnna Hepner. “The goal of these workshops is to safeguard that trust, and the future of their businesses in the process.”

For more information and to register for the Hilo and Oahu grower workshops, visit the university’s website. Register in advance for $25 by Sept. 17 to save; the on-site registration fee is $35. PMA’s local grower workshops will return to the mainland later this year, with a workshop planned Dec. 12 in Durham, Calif.

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