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Marlin Bates GAPS Farmers Forum 2012

Marlin Bates GAPS Farmers Forum 2012


you Thank you. Good afternoon. How’s everybody has everybody heard of gaps just a few of you [alright] fantastic, so Dr.. Trink light is absolutely right one of the things that we’re really trying to do as we work with Producers across the state is educate them about the the steps that they could take to reduce the possibility of Microbial contamination to Specifically fresh fruits and [vegetables] so anytime you hear about gaps or is sometimes called Gap [gipp] Ghp? Good agricultural practices or good handling practices We’re really talking about a uSda program now gaps is a food safety certification program for Producers and Producers of fresh fruits and [vegetables] there that’s not to say that there aren’t other food safety certification programs that are out there in fact there there are probably seven that are commonly used across the country and Typically those are those are used by larger growers who are selling into? probably much larger wholesalers then then what typical Missouri fruit or vegetable producer is selling into so having said that I’ve worked with producers who have pursued gap certification as well as producers who have pursued those other Third-Party certifications which which for the record do tend to cost a little bit more than [a] uSda? Gap audit And it’s important to point out that that the Gap audit is it’s a fall gap audit or food safety audit is something that’s Voluntarily taken Undertaken by a producer now you may not necessarily be volunteering to do it because Perhaps the wholesaler Or the entity that you’re selling into in some instances farmers markets may require that you have some sort of food safety certification So if that’s a requirement of your outlet then You’d probably better volunteer to do it, right but there’s not anything you know legislatively mandating producers of fresh fruits and vegetables to pursue sort of Third-Party auto verification Yet so that may happen We’re not exactly certain what the food safety modernization act is going to look like whenever it comes out But we are keeping on top of what that’s what that’s looking like what that process is looking like that Law was actually supposed to come out in January and we’re still still working on what that might look like for the time being it is it is a voluntary program and it’s so I’m not going to talk about those other proprietary certification programs But just know that they are fairly similar to what the usDA’s gaps program is and the usDa’s gap Program is based off of the fDA’s guide to minimizing Microbial Contamination to fresh fruits and [vegetables], which is a publication that’s available on the fDA’s website And if you are fortunate enough to navigate the UsDa’s Ams website to find the Gap stuff. It’s also posted there as well, so [what] is it it’s a quality assurance tool. It’s really a way for communication to For producers to communicate to the people that are buying their product, but it Works really between all the players and certainly there are more players in the in food distribution particularly as [we] start talking about International food supplies, then what’s just shown here but for the purposes of this presentation? I think this kind of illustrates for the most part what we’re talking about it’s a quality assurance Tool that that really allows for farmers to communicate to the people that are buying their products that they’re taking steps To at least reduce the chance of microbial contamination to the food that they’re producing so if you are certified Then there’s at least that knowledge that your consumer or the individual that you’re selling to is aware [that] you’re doing at least some steps to reduce the threat of contamination, but it also works the other way, so it’s it’s a way for distributors to know that the food that they’re buying and aggregating in their warehouses Has been produced with same thoughts in mind and of course it works further just from the consumer standpoint So where does the demand for all of this come currently it’s right here, so and there are a few Direct to market markets that do require some level of certification But for the most part people who are pursuing gap certification or any other food safety? certification are doing it because they’re selling to a wholesaler or a Large retailer who says we’re not buying it unless you can prove to us that you’re certified and so right now That’s kind of where we’re at But I having said that Well, and we’ll have a slide about this later on there are things that go along with good agricultural practices that we should all [be] Undertaking on our farms and what we’ll talk a little bit about some of those specifics as we go when you look at the Gap certification program There’s a number of parts in in order to pursue certification or to get certification doesn’t matter what you’re doing You have to do the general questions So this is just kind of the canopy question general questions have to be completed by anybody who’s who’s pursuing? certification, and then really like the first three are Generally, what we see? Producers in Missouri going for and in Many cases, it’s just the first two If you have a packing facility certainly you’re going to be interested in part three But then there are a number actually there’s I think about a year ago there were more wholesale distribution centers or terminal where houses that were Certified than there were farms in Missouri that were gap certified. Which I thought was interesting So everybody has to do the general questions, but you get to choose which ones Beyond that so you may choose parts to Part 1 2 [&] 3 or maybe just part one and two as a producer so the general questions this is kind of what they go after they look for the implementation of a food safety program which means that you’ve developed a food safety plan And we’ll talk a little bit about what a super food safety plan is but understand that in a 20-minute presentation We’re not really going to get into too much of that And to be fair I usually give this presentation over the course of about three and a half hours So look me up if you want [to] come to one of those So one of the things about the food safety plan is one of the first things that it does is it identifies an individual on that farm that’s going to be responsible for the implementation of that program Which means that that individual is going to have to be intimately involved with the development of the plan and know exactly? What steps are being taken? So that so that they can make ensure that the things that need to be logged on paper are getting logged on paper every single part the General questions part 1 2 3 4 & 5 include a feature for traceability Traceability used to be its own part the part of its own, but they actually decided that They’re just [going] to eliminate traceability and incorporate it into every single part that exists in the audit And for the general questions the traceability bit really Boils down to you know you have to have a procedure in place And that procedure is going to be a part of your food safety plan And you’ll also have a documentation indicating that annually you have successfully conducted a recall So you ought to be able to at least say call call somebody that you’ve sold your produce or your your fruits or vegetables to Tell them hey I’m just conducting a mock Recall can you identify? Where this product is if it’s still on your floor or in your kitchen wherever it might be and if they can successfully produce it Because of you labeled it appropriately then you’ve successfully conducted a mock recall Another huge thing and this is really this is really the nuts and bolts of the the certification is worker health and hygiene So there’s a couple of things that we really focus on there and hand washing is one of them from a worker health and Hygiene standpoint, so You know that’s that’s you you and me and anybody else that’s on the farm But any employees as well as any visitors that might might be around on the premises So that really means that you have to have signage in the restroom, so we’ve all seen those in the restaurants that we go to It’s just a continuation of that kind of protocol So let’s talk about number one part 1 the farm review There’s a number of things and this is probably one of the more difficult or the more lengthy aspects of the audit or of the food safety plan To go through you have to identify your water source and identify how you use it so you may have multiple uses Or multiple sources of water on the farm for different uses and there are there are? regulations on what kind of water you can use and And where you have to use potable water, so if you’re using surface water, and you also have to be able to Document that you’ve tested this water unless of course you’re on a rural municipal supply, and then people test it for you you just keep a record of what that test indicated if You’re using surface water It’s recommended that you test it monthly during the season of use so if you’re pulling water out of a stream river or a pond that that water needs to be tested and we’re testing for Coliform Bacteria Which is a relatively simple and straightforward test is not particularly expensive, and it’s relatively simple to undertake And then there are limits for how you use water depending on On what the results of that test show, so if you’re using? irrigation Overhead irrigation water, and it’s going to be touching the edible part of the plant for instance there’s a rule [in] there that says the the test that you conduct on that water needs to identify fewer than 236 Colony forming units of Coliform Bacteria in order for you to safely apply it to the Edible portion of the plant if your overhead irrigating or Using other form of irrigation where that water is not going to come directly into contact with the edible portion of that plant then you have a Threshold much higher at about 570 Colony forming units, so there’s there’s intricacies that are like that throughout all of this And I’m probably not going to use examples on all of them But that’s where it starts to get kind of meticulous But what I just want to communicate to you that it’s there. It’s really simple to find out what those Intricacies are if you have trouble I’m always here for that other things include Identification of possible water related risks so it’s one thing to say that you’ve gone through and actually tested the water but it’s another thing to make sure that you’ve got steps or standard operating procedures in place to reduce further contamination of the pond or of the stream and usually that includes The exclusion of animals Wildlife Livestock and things like that and Making sure that If your house is on a septic system Or if the packing shed is on a septic system That you’re taking steps to make [sure] that that there isn’t an issue. That’s going down into the water source the Farm review also includes questions as they relate to manure and municipal biosolids Municipal bio solids are not acceptable in any way shape or form and then manure Also is quite regulated it basically the uSDa with their gaps program has adopted Effectively the same sort of standards as the organic Organic Standards board has so what’s that main does anybody know that means? freshman or applied for problem Okay, I haven’t heard [that] before but close and I would actually Lean your way, so he said 12 months between application and harvest Organic Standard is 1920 days, so if you’re using fresh, or ih manure manure as it is we’ll talk about. What manure is in a minute Those crops that the edible portion of the plant doesn’t touch the ground You can you can harvest those within 90 days or after 90 days after application? Those crops whose Edible portion does touch the ground you have to wait 120 days to harvest after application? So that’s the 1920 day rule if anybody was ever wondering Other things on the farm review include land use history so you you want to document? What the historical use of the land is and of course there’s traceability that’s in there as well and those are specific questions part 2 field Sanitation and hygiene this pre heart pre-harvest assessment is something that wasn’t initially in the gaps protocol, but it is now, and that’s basically the Somebody whoever’s usually in charge of implementing the food Safety program has to go through Through the field that’s to be harvested the day of harvest or within a reasonable time frame prior to harvest And just scout for any potential contamination so usually this individual I have some flags, and you know if there’s Any sign that there was contamination like for instance. If there are deer droppings or other droppings that are on the on the plants? Flag goes in the ground maybe you’ve got a standard operating procedure in your plan that says if there’s a flag in the ground on Harvest thing you don’t harvest anything within say to a 3-foot circle from there And then it that includes bird droppings as well toilet Facility availability and You’re not going to get points for this unless you have [a] toilet facility one per every 20 employees. Which is usually not a problem But no more than a quarter mile away from where those employees are located, so the theory there is That we want toilet facilities relatively close to where the workers or the harvesters are going to be? Because if it’s [closed], they’re more likely to walk to the toilet as opposed to walking to the corner of the field And also from a field sanitation and hygiene, you just want to make sure that you have a standard operating procedure in your plan That helps you deal with issues, and so if something does arise, you know exactly what you’re going to do to deal with it field harvesting and transportation There’s a whole host of things But mostly they just relate to the containers that you’re using You’re not sitting them on the ground while harvesting and then stacking them on top of other produce Because they’re transferring potential contaminants that may be in the soil to the fresh fruits or vegetables Harvesting tools and equipment are kept clean you’ve got policies and procedures or sops to respond to contamination events and You’ve got things as they’re being harvested or as they’re being delivered to the packing facility That are labeled so that you know what field that they came from Again, you can kind of get the feel that a lot of these things were developed with relatively large farms in mind, so These things aren’t nearly as intricate for a small farm as it would be for a large farm So real [quick] because I’m not real sure that I covered it, but I did want to go back [to] talking about manure real quick When we talk about those manure applications? we want to make sure that we we define the difference between manure and compost and so composting through the The good agricultural practices program is again viewed in the same light as it is in the national organic program Which is to say that you have to document? How hot that pile gets and for how long it gets and if it doesn’t get over a hundred and tWenty-two degrees? For 15 days, and it’s not turned at least five times during that period Then it’s not compost So if it has manure in it, and it’s not compost its manure which means that you have to follow that 920 day rule So I just wanted to clarify that yes biosolids is that compost that some of the City’s make themselves out of leaf and Dress no it’s from sewage treatment facilities so if you’re using compost, it’s strictly from plant material nobody really cares if it gets to 122 Degrees or not You can you can [just] call that you know leaf litter or whatever, but it’s not my it’s not manure If it doesn’t practically get composted So that’s that’s what we’re talking about is if you’re producing compost specifically if you’re producing compost on the farm with manure you have to log that So that 15-day period With with win-win times or temperatures were checked and what? when the the pile was actually turned Which is really gets down to that the essence of what this entire thing is it’s the implementation of this plan this food safety plan which really requires just Documentation and to make this easy on you you know the horticulture specialists including a few agronomy specialists with University of Missouri extension and Lincoln University have gone through some trainings where we’ve gotten together with Auditors and we’ve sat down for days on in talking about these sorts of intricacies that exist and as a result of that One of the things that we did was we compiled just log sheets so bathroom cleaning log sheet temp compost temperature and time log sheets And there’s literally like 30 log sheets that we’ve got so if you are potentially going after Gap certification Or if you just want to implement some of these practices on your farm maybe without going for the official certification get [ahold] of us And we’ll hook you up with those log sheets. You don’t have to create them yourself All right, let’s let’s talk Briefly about part 3 which is the house packing facility There’s a number of things this kind of gets into some more interesting stuff because it’s not just in the field but we want to make [sure] that we’re we want a we want to make sure we have a diagram in the plan in the food safety plan that shows the flow of product on the on a map of the facility so we want to be able to document where that product is coming in what process it’s going through and where it’s coming out the door and then in the practical implementation of it we want to make sure that we’ve got procedures in place for What’s supposed to happen when? You know the forklift comes in with the kratom Islands or whatever whatever happens whenever the product is coming in the door And then whatever happens when it’s going through the sorting table You know how often is the sorting table cleaned and sanitized and of course you can guess that those things are also logged? Packinghouse worker health and Hygiene again another big thing But really we’re talking about clean facilities. Easy access to restrooms that always have soap and paper towels and things like that this is an interesting one where we’re Looking at Several structural guidelines and one of the things we talked about is overhead lights And doing what we can to keep birds out of the facility And also doing what we can to keep rodents out of the facility And so that means if you’ve got you know a bunch of stuff stacked up against the wall One of the things you might do is bring it out three or four inches so that whenever you have to do a pest control check because you’re going to have pest control devices throughout the facility you can look right down between the wall and the row [of] boxes or whatever it [is] and Check to [see] [if] there’s if there’s any activity Real quick just about the lights you got [to] have something up there so that if a light bulb breaks It doesn’t [just] fall right down into the product And of course traceability is another thing so we’re talking about simple labels that just indicate what field the product came from what data was packed and the name telephone number and address of the farm So how do you how do you how do you know whether or not you pass this will each one of these? Parts has one of these aggregate sums so you just say all right well in part [to] for instance There’s a total possible hundred and eighty five, but maybe some of those don’t necessarily apply to your operation So you don’t you don’t get discounted those those it taken out of the possible total? And if you get over eighty percent, then you pass Now with global gaps which is something where? The USDa has worked with those private entities that do those third-Party audit programs To maybe make it a little bit more streamlined, and maybe really to benefit people who sell to multiple Outlets Say say Walmart and price Chopper same just examples They may of farmer who sells to those two entities may have to pursue a food safety certification through Whoever Walmart wants as their certifier as well as whoever price Chopper wants as their certifiers So global gaps is an effort to reduce that redundancy And in in global gaps, they don’t actually give you a score they leave it up to whoever’s buying your product to decide if you have met a satisfactory level of food safety on the farm There are things that exist that will give you an automatically unsatisfactory? immediate food risk present that could be something as simple as the audit or watching somebody walk out of the bathroom and Finding evidence that they didn’t wash their hands automatic fail, you’re not going to get certified There are other things that are included in there There’s a number of things that it takes but really the top one here the total management commitment and making sure that everybody who’s on the farm whether they work there or Visiting are aware of the things that they need to be aware of as it relates to your food safety plan So we kind of already talked about? Who might benefit from it? But I guess I guess this is a different slide. We’ll talk really quickly about why you might consider it. Well you might consider Certification because it could potentially open a door for you from a marketing standpoint if you’re at a scale large enough Where you think you might might want to start? selling commercially to at a wholesale level Because a lot of those wholesalers are requiring some form of of food safety training and and even more are acquiring certification So if you if you [are] interested in becoming certified, there are a number of steps But certainly building that farm food safety plan is at the top of that list and one of the best ways to do that is Simply just to go through the audit itself which is what’s nice about the usDa. They give you the audit? this is what I’m going to be auditing you on build a farm food safety plan around it and And generally those auditors are good enough to say if you want to send me your plan before I Come and do the audit give me a couple weeks head heads up. Send it in. I’ll take a look at it If anything’s glaring, I might make a comment here there, but keep in mind that they do have to maintain their third party status So they’re not going to hold your hand through the audit itself The other thing [is] that this audit if it’s done for certification Purposes has to be done while these activities are occurring so you can’t become gap certified in the middle of January for tomatoes They’ll actually have to see the tomatoes growing. They’ll have to see the producer or the worker Harvesting and they’ll have to see those tomatoes go into the packing house And they’ll have to see them come out of the packing house I have to see the whole process in order to become certified So the audit has to occur During the season which makes winner a great time to start getting together that food safety plan and start thinking about what what sorts of? Steps do you have to implement or change in your operation? to be within reason or in compliance So there’s a number of resources that are out there of course there’s that guide to minimizing microbial food safety hazards For fresh fruits and vegetables which is that FDa guide, but then probably the most? Important thing that you can use if you’re pursuing a usda audit is look at the usDa checklist and if you have any questions as it relates to doing those Putting those steps together and actually coming up with a plan Get a hold of me get a hold of other extension people because we’re we’re here and ready to help with that and And ultimately we feel like even if you don’t have to pursue a certification sooner later you may very well end up having to have that plan like you may have to have that plan and so it’s kind of a good idea to go ahead and work on putting it together while you don’t have to rush around if if a man date does fall down the line So the question [was] about Gap certification in the future we have to to pay to Keep the keep the certification up and answer is yes so generally what in my experience the the initial audit is the one that takes the longest and so with the usda you actually pay an hourly rate to the to the auditor and and that’s usually the first one is the one that takes the most time because that auditor has to get to know you as You get to know the farm has to get to know the kind of operation that you’ve got Annually, you don’t have to write a new plan, but you do have to write an update to the plan which is usually one maybe two pages Unless you drastically change the operation so yes, you will have to do it, but it doesn’t take nearly as long as less costly That’s a good question Daniel and I haven’t heard that insurance companies have started mandating food safety audits or certifications though I wouldn’t be surprised if that if that is the case after Some of the things that we’ve seen but to be clear that cantaloupe farm was gap Gap certified That’s right. So you do have to be gap certified for specific crops he asked if if you have to be gab certified for specific crops And the answer is yes, so you can you can pursue certification for? vegetables in General or If you’re you know if you’re say, you’re a market producer, and you produce you know a ton of different kinds of things but you’re interested in maybe going on a wholesale level with a couple of [things] and Whoever it is. You’re selling wholesale to is interested in that being certified You wouldn’t necessarily need to go and certify the entire farm it would really just be interested in certifying those crops So the question is does it need to be done each each year for each crop and answers. Yes? So it’s it’s not like you would have to go through for audits if you had four crops Unless those four crops were seasonally different so generally what we say is one audit for a host of different vegetables And I’ve seen and you can get on the usDa’s Ams website and you can search to see what farms are Or who I guess is gap certified that includes farms as well as those wholesale In terminal outlets and it’ll show you what they’re certified for so many instances. It’s 12 crops, but there’s a few farms that are out there that have 15 crops that are listed And I’ll bet you that it probably is a costs about the same to have 15 crop certified as it does to have to you

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