by MIKE ROBERTS
The Florida Citrus Show in Fort Pierce saw an update from Mark Ritenour, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) post-harvest Extension specialist, on upcoming changes to the Produce Safety Rule. A recent Citrus Industry article gave a recap of his presentation at the show. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has required that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) update its Produce Safety Rule, a change that will impact fresh fruit citrus growers and packers. Here are some key points from Ritenour’s presentation:
- 1. Growers and packers should review the currently available rule changes draft and make comments. It will be available for review and comments through April 22nd.
- 2. Perform an On-Farm Readiness Review. The reviews are performed through a partnership between the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and UF/IFAS. Ritenour described this program in the Citrus Industry article as a way for you to “see how all the rules might actually apply to your operation.” Plus, it’s free, and it is an opportunity to have the requirements and paperwork explained. For more information or to sign-up for an On-Farm Readiness Review, call FDACS at (863) 578-1900.
- 3. Plan on completing training. The Produce Safety Rule requires one representative from every farm to attend the Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training or another FDA-recognized curriculum. According to Ritenour, maybe only 25 percent of Florida operations have completed this training.
Here at Griffin Fertilizer, we understand that growing our food and fiber takes a lot of planning, training, and resources. We are a full-service dry and liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection products distributor. If you have questions about how your crop or grove can perform at its best, our team is here to help. You can contact us at 863-635-2281 or visit our website at GriffinFertilizer.com.
This column is sponsored by Griffin Fertilizer Co., and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.
BIO: Mike Roberts is the Vice President of the Frostproof, Fla.-based Griffin Fertilizer Co. Roberts joined the company in November 2011. He has spent the majority of his career in the fertilizer/agchem industry. Roberts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in citrus production from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. For more information, visit griffinfertilizer.com.