Good Fruit Grower

July 2016

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20 JULY 2016 Good Fruit Grower A s the fruit industry gears up to begin com- plying with new food safety regulations, many are finding them to be unclear and intimidating, with plenty of unanswered questions. Growers and packers have been working for months to determine which of the two rules — the Produce Safety Rule and the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule — apply to their operations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). And researchers are working to train growers and packers about how to meet the biggest requirements of each. For growers, that requirement is water quality sampling, and the researchers' message is simple: Where you sample matters. When you sample matters. How you sample matters. How you test matters. "We want to clarify some of the things in the rule that are vague, but also demystify it and empower growers with information — let them know it doesn't have to be as scary as it seems and a lot of things they can do themselves," said Melissa Partyka. She is a research ecologist with the Western Center for Food Safety at the University of California-Davis, a Food and Drug Administration Center of Excellence established to conduct research, outreach and educational programs to enhance implementation of FSMA. Most growers fall under the Produce Safety Rule, which establishes standards for the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of produce. The rule requires growers to test their agricultural water and take certain actions should microbial tests come back above a set threshold close to harvest. Centerpiece Simple steps Researchers are educating packing house operators and growers about proper water sampling methods in orchards and vineyards. by Shannon Dininny photos by TJ Mullinax

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