Tag Archive: Food

Wildlife Food Plots for North Florida

Big Buck on the Move – Photo Credit Shep Eubanks, UF/IFAS

About this time each year the minds of sportsman and wildlife aficionados turn towards the planting of wildlife food plots for use by wildlife  in fall, winter , and early spring.  There are many factors to consider when planting a fall food plot if you want to be successful in the endeavor.  Food plots can be  an effective method of providing food sources for game birds, deer, rabbits, raccoons, and other species.  The size of food plots vary according to landowner preferences and the requirements of the target wildlife species, but usually they are a minimum of 1/2 to 1 acre in size, with a maximum of 5 acres.

Location is a an important consideration when planning the plot as the most effective plots typically are located adjacent to sanctuary or escape cover that provides security for wildlife.  Food plots that meander along edges of of two or there converging types of cover, such as the edge created where pine plantations, hardwood bottoms, and agricultural fields intersect, are very attractive to wildlife and provide natural travel corridors, in addition to providing a high nutrition food source.

Successful planting of your crop begins with soil sampling.  Having the proper pH in your food plot is of paramount importance.  A pH of 6.5 is ideal for winter annual grasses and legumes in North Florida.  As an Ag Agent I have seen more food plot disasters because a landowner did not take time to soil test than any other reason.  The soil test will also guide you in applying proper fertilization to optimize productivity of your food plots.  Food plots are expensive  to establish and you want to avoid needless mistakes such as poor fertility that will yield poor results.

Preparation of a good seedbed is also very important as is selection of seeds that are adapted to our area.  UF/IFAS has developed some excellent resources that will assist you in selecting forages that do well in our area such as, A Walk on the Wild Side: 2013 Cool-Season Forage Recommendations for Wildlife Food Plots in North FloridaAnother Excellent reference is Establishing and Maintaining Wildlife Food Sources.

Now is the time to make your preparations for planting your successful cool season food plot here in North Florida! hopefully you will have the experience of seeing and enjoying wildlife as pictured in photo 2 and photo 3!

For more information on planting successful food plots this fall, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office.

Photo 2. Nice Buck grazing woods edge food plot in North Florida   Photo Credit – Shep Eubanks, UF/IFAS

Photo 3. Gobbler and Hen Standing in Crimson Clover
Photo Credit – Shep Eubanks, UF/IFAS

 

 

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Author: Shep Eubanks – bigbuck@ufl.edu

Shep Eubanks is the County Extension Director and Agriculture Agent in Gadsden County.

Shep Eubanks

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/22/wildlife-food-plots-for-north-florida/

Farm Food Safety Workshops – October 5 & 26

Farm Food Safety Workshops – October 5 & 26

Photo by Judy Biss

Two Farm Food Safety Workshops are scheduled for October in the Panhandle.  A Building Your Own Farm’s Food Safety Manual Workshop is scheduled for October 5th in Crestview and a Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training is scheduled for October 26 in Marianna.  The PSA Grower Training curriculum is approved by the FDA to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

Which Training Should Growers Attend?

  • All fruit and vegetable farms should have a food safety manual.  If you haven’t created a manual yet, then you will learn what needs to go in your manual and develop your own manual at the Building Your Own Farm’s Food Safety Manual Workshop in Crestview.
  • Fruit and vegetable farms that have an annual value of produce sold (based on a three year average) of $ 25,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more are required to attend an FDA approved FSMA training such as the PSA Grower Training offered in Marianna.
  • If both of the above criteria apply to you, then you should attend both trainings.

Benefits of Attending Each Workshop

  • The Building Your Own Farm’s Food Safety Manual Workshop will not only allow you to develop your own Food Safety Manual, but it will also help you prepare for a Food Safety Audit.  You will go home with an electronic copy of you personalized food safety manual, food safety training materials for you employees, and a food safety reference notebook.  This workshop also provides CEUs for pesticide applicators.
  • The PSA Grower Training will cover the requirements of the FSMA produce safety rule. It will also cover key Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are necessary in a farm food safety plan.  You will go home with a FSMA produce safety rule reference notebook and a Certificate of Course Attendance compliant with FSMA requirements.

Cost to Attend Each Workshop and Registration Information

  • The fee for the Building Your Own Farm’s Food Safety Manual Workshop is $ 35 for the first person representing a farm and $ 15 for one additional attendee.  Registration fee includes the training materials, an electronic copy of your personalized manual, lunch, refreshments, and a Certificate of Course Attendance.  Register by calling the Jackson County Extension Office at (850)482-9620 or emailing Sabrina at s.farr@ufl.edu.  (Note: This workshop will be held at the Okaloosa County Extension Office, 3098 Airport Rd., Crestview, FL.)
  • The fee for the PSA Grower Training is $ 95.  For attendees who are members of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA), a discounted rate of $ 80 is available.  (Not sure if you’re a member?  Contact Sonia Tighe at 321-214-5245 or sonia.tighe@ffva.com).  Registration fee includes the training materials, lunch, refreshments, and a Certificate of Course Attendance that complies with the training requirements of FSMA.  Register online at Online Registration or download the training brochure to register by mail.

If you have any questions pertaining to which training is right for you or other general food safety questions, please feel free to contact Matt Lollar with the Jackson County Extension Office at (850)482-9620 or mlollar@ufl.edu.

 

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Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/08/farm-food-safety-workshops-october-5-26/

Updates to the Florida Cottage Food Law

Updates to the Florida Cottage Food Law

Sally Waxgiser sells Sally’s Old Fashion Jams and Jellies in Jackson County utilizing the guidelines of the the Florida Cottage Food Law, which was approved by the legislature in 2011. Photo credit: Doug Mayo

Under the Cottage Food Law in the state of Florida, individuals can sell certain foods they produce in unlicensed home kitchens, if the food has a low risk of foodborne illness, as outlined in Section 500.80 of the Florida Statutes. These food products must be sold within Florida, they cannot be sold wholesale, and they must be properly packaged and labeled.  Although products can be served as free samples for tasting, the samples must be prepackaged.

The label on Cottage food must include the name and address of the Cottage food operation, the name of the product, the ingredients in order by weight, the net weight or volume of the product, allergen information, nutritional information if a nutritional claim is made, and the following statement, “Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida’s food safety regulations.”

Recently, the Cottage Food Law was amended to include two important changes. These updates, which took effect July 1, 2017, increase the annual gross sales of cottage food products allowed under the law from $ 15,000 to $ 50,000, and make it possible for the producer to sell, offer for sale, and accept payment over the Internet, if the product is delivered in person directly to the consumer, or to a specific event venue.

As listed on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Cottage Food website, the following foods fall under the Cottage Food Law:

  • Loaf breads, rolls, biscuits
  • Cakes, pastries and cookies
  • Candies and confections
  • Honey
  • Jams, jellies and preserves
  • Fruit pies and dried fruits
  • Dry herbs, seasonings and mixtures
  • Homemade pasta
  • Cereals, trail mixes and granola
  • Coated or uncoated nuts
  • Vinegar and flavored vinegars
  • Popcorn and popcorn balls

For more information, please visit the FDACS Division of Food Safety website, and read their latest fact sheet called, Florida Cottage Food Guidance.

 

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Author: Molly Jameson – mjameson@ufl.edu

Molly Jameson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/25/updates-to-the-florida-cottage-food-law/

Food Safety Tips for the Perfect Summer Picnic

Food Safety Tips for the Perfect Summer Picnic

There are few things more iconic during summer than a picnic.  There’s just something fresh and fun about sharing a meal in the park or at the beach with family and friends.  But just because you’re enjoying the warm, gentle breeze doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind.  By following a few simple food safety tips, you can ensure that your perfectly planned picnic doesn’t make you sick.

Planning it out.  Not all foods are picnic-appropriate.  Anything that requires a lot of perishable ingredients and/or a lot of preparation should be avoided.  Stick with foods that require little or no cooking and that contain just a few ingredients.  Foods such as fruits and vegetables (especially whole ones), hard cheeses, peanut butter and jelly, cereal, bread, and crackers are ideal picnic items.  Anything made with commercially processed custard or mayonnaise will stay safe as long as they are kept cold.

Packing it up. Use a cooler, if possible, and store cold foods together so they can help each other stay colder longer.  Use ice or frozen gel packs to help keep foods cold.  Pack foods directly from the refrigerator into the cooler; don’t leave them sitting out before packing.  Store ready-to-eat foods separately from raw meats.  If packing up hot foods, be sure to keep them in a thermos or other insulated dish.  DO NOT store them in the same container as the cold foods.  Paper towels, disposable utensils, and a food thermometer are ideal picnic accessories.  Remember, keep cold foods below 41 degrees F and hot foods above 135 degrees F.  Do your best to keep the cooler away from direct sunlight by storing it in the shade and be sure to replenish the ice and/or frozen gel packs when they melt.  Consider packing drinks in a separate cooler, as they are consumed more frequently; this will reduce the exposure of food items to warm air until you’re ready to eat.

Preparing the feast.  All food items should be kept at the proper temperature at all times.  When cooking raw meats, use separate plates for the raw and cooked products and clean and sanitize utensils between uses.  Cook meat to the proper recommended internal temperature to ensure doneness and safety.  Click here for a list of recommended internal cooking temperatures.

Presenting the bounty.  Discard any perishable foods that have been left out for longer than two hours.  In really hot weather (generally above 90 degrees F), foods should not be left out longer than one hour.  Keep food protected in storage containers such as coolers and lidded dishes to minimize contamination from flies and other pests.  Serve small portions of food at a time and keep the rest in the cooler.

Picnics are an important part of summer and with just a little bit of planning and a few useful tips and tools, they can be safe and delicious for everyone!

Source: Beaugh, Kristina. “Checklist for the Perfect Summer Picnic,” Foodsafety.gov blog, June 16, 2015.  URL: https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/2015/06/picnic.html.

 

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Author: Samantha Kennedy, M.S. – skennedy@ufl.edu

Samantha is the Family & Consumer Sciences agent in Wakulla County. She has worked for UF/IFAS Extension since 2004. She has a B.S. in both Microbiology & Cell Science and Nutritional Sciences and an M.S. in Agricultural Education, both from UF. Her areas of expertise are nutrition, health & wellness, chronic disease prevention, food safety, disaster preparedness, and financial literacy. You can reach her via email at skennedy@ufl.edu or by calling (850) 926-3931.

Samantha Kennedy, M.S.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/03/food-safety-tips-for-the-perfect-summer-picnic/

Farmers Prepare for the New Food Safety Standards

If you are a farmer, you have most likely heard about the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA, by now. If you are not a farmer, you probably do not know that food safety regulations are going through a big change. The FSMA, which was passed in 2011, is considered the largest update to food safety regulation in over 80 years.

The proposed produce safety rule under the FSMA is very robust, establishing the minimum standards for worker training, health and hygiene, agricultural water use, animal soil amendments, on-farm domesticated and wild animals, equipment, tools, buildings, and sprout production.

But this new rule will not apply to all farmers. The commodities they produce and the value of their produce sold will ultimately dictate whether they will need to comply.

First, the rule does not apply to produce that is not a raw agricultural commodity, or commodities the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified as “rarely consumed raw.” Secondly, if a farm has an average value of produce sold of $ 25,000 or less within the previous three years, they are also exempt.

If the farmer produces an agricultural commodity in which the rule applies and the value of their produce sold is over $ 25,000, it is still possible the farm will be exempt from most of the requirements.

Fresh cucumbers, for example, are considered a raw commodity. But cucumbers that will undergo further processing, such as for pickling, would be eligible for exemption from the produce rule. Photo by Molly Jameson.

For instance, if the average annual monetary value of food sold directly to qualified end-users was more than the average annual value of the food sold to all other buyers within the previous three-year period, the farmer would meet the first half of exemption eligibility.

What is a “qualified end-user”, you ask? They are considered the consumers of the food, or restaurant or retail food establishment, located with the same state as the farm that produced the food (or no more than 275 miles).

But even if farmers meet the above exemption eligibility standards, they must also meet the second requirement. That is, the average annual monetary value of all food sold during the three-year period must be less than $ 500,000, when adjusted for inflation.

If this all sounds confusing, you are not alone! This is why the FDA developed a chart to help farmers determine if they will be exempt: Standards for Produce Safety – Coverage and Exemptions/Exclusions for Proposed 21 PART 112.

Whether farms will be exempt from the FSMA produce safety rule or not, it is always a good idea to follow good agricultural practices and to have a farm food safety plan. To learn more about food safety on farms, view the EDIS document Food Safety on the Farm: An Overview of Good Agricultural Practices.

If you are a farmer, or know someone who would benefit from having a food safety plan, the UF Small Farms Academy Extension Agents are offering a Building Your Own Farm’s Food Safety Manual Workshop in Tallahassee to help growers develop their own food safety manuals.

The workshop is tailored to fresh fruit and vegetable farms, fields, or greenhouses and is partially supported by a grant through the Florida Specialty Crops Block Grant program from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service.

The registration fee is $ 35 for the first person representing a farm and $ 15 for an additional attendee from that farm. The workshop is limited to 20 farms on a first come, first serve basis.

The workshop will take place at the Amtrak Station, County Community Room, 918 Railroad Ave, in Tallahassee, FL, on Tuesday, May 23, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Register on Eventbrite by following this link: https://farmfoodsafetymanualworkshop.eventbrite.com

Please note, this class will help farmers develop their farm’s food safety manual, but it does not fulfill the new FDA FSMA one-time training requirement.

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Author: Molly Jameson – mjameson@ufl.edu

Molly Jameson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/05/12/farmers-prepare-for-the-new-food-safety-standards/

Farm Food Safety Certification Training – February 13

A Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training is scheduled for Monday, February 13 at the Jackson County Extension Office in Marianna, FL.  The PSA Grower Training curriculum is approved by the FDA to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

Who Should Attend? – Fruit and vegetable growers with farms that have an annual value of produce sold (based on a three year average) of $ 25,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more.

Benefits to Attending – The course will cover the requirements of the FSMA produce safety rule.  It will also cover key Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are necessary in a farm food safety plan.

Cost to Attend – The fee for the training is $ 150.  For attendees who are members of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA), a discounted rate of $ 99 is available.  (Not sure if you’re a member?  Contact Sonia Tighe at 321-214-5245 or sonia.tighe@ffva.com).  Registration fee includes the training materials, lunch, refreshments, and a Certificate of Course Attendance that complies with the training requirements of FSMA.

Registration

Registration Deadline is February 6, 2017

PSA TRAINING AGENDA

  • 8:30 Registration and Refreshments
  • 9:00 Welcome and Introductions
  • 9:15 Module 1: Introduction to Produce Safety
  • 10:00 Module 2: Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training
  • 11:00 Break
  • 11:15 Module 3: Soil Amendments
  • 12:00 Module 4: Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use
  • 12:45 Lunch
  • 1:30 Module 5: Agricultural Water Part 1: Production Water
  • 2:15 Part 2: Postharvest Water
  • 3:15 Break
  • 3:30 Module 6: Postharvest Handling and Sanitation
  • 4:30 Module 7: How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan
  • 5:00 Final Questions and Evaluations

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Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/01/07/farm-food-safety-certification-training-february-13/

Things You Should Know About Farm Food Safety

Things You Should Know About Farm Food Safety

It seems like years ago that the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law, but it was actually 2011.  With a new congress convening this week, and the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump on January 20th, the outlook for FSMA is unpredictable.  Whatever the future may hold, there are a number of important food safety compliance facts you should know.

Exempt/Excluded Status

Depending on the size of your farm, what you grow, or your clientele, you may be exempt or excluded from FSMA.  Whatever your status may be, it is important that you understand food safety protocol and that you proactively and reactively reduce food safety risks on your farm.

  • Farms that have an annual value of produce sold of $ 25,000 (based on a three year average, adjusted for inflation) or less are not covered by the regulation.
  • The farm must have food sales less than $ 500,000 per year (based on a three year average, adjusted for inflation) AND the farm’s direct sales to qualified end-users must exceed sales to all buyers combined during the previous three years. (A qualified end-user is either the consumer of the food or a restaurant or retail food establishment that is located in the same state or the same Indian reservation as the farm or not more than 275 miles away.)
  • Produce Not Covered by the Regulation
    • Produce commodities that FDA has identified as rarely consumed raw: asparagus; black beans, great Northern beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, and pinto beans; garden beets (roots and tops) and sugar beets; cashews; sour cherries; chickpeas; cocoa beans; coffee beans; collards; sweet corn; cranberries; dates; dill (seeds and weed); eggplants; figs; ginger; hazelnuts; horseradish; lentils; okra; peanuts; pecans; peppermint; potatoes; pumpkins; winter squash; sweet potatoes; and water chestnuts.
    • Produce that is used for personal or on-farm consumption.
    • Produce that is not a raw agricultural commodity.  (A raw agricultural commodity is any food in its raw or natural state.)
  • A farm with the qualified exemption must still meet certain modified requirements, including prominently and conspicuously displaying the name and the complete business address of the farm where the produce was grown either on the label of the produce or at the point of purchase.

Compliance Deadlines

Required compliance dates are set based on farm size – the larger the farm, the sooner it will need to be in compliance.

  • Very small businesses, defined as greater than $ 25,000 but less than $ 250,000 in average annual (previous three year period) produce sales, will need to comply with the regulation within four years.
  • Small businesses, defined as greater than $ 250,000 but less than $ 500,000 in average annual (previous three year period) produce sales, will need to comply with the regulation within three years.
  • All other businesses, defined as greater than $ 500,000 in average annual (previous three year period) produce sales, will need to comply with the regulation within two years of the effective date.
  • Compliance dates for farms eligible for qualified exemptions are:
    • Labeling requirements (if applicable): January 1, 2020
    • Retention of records supporting eligibility for a qualified exemption: Effective date of final rule (January 26, 2016)
    • For all other modified requirements for farms growing covered produce other than sprouts: Very small businesses—4 years, Small businesses—3 years

Note:  The compliance dates for certain aspects of the agricultural water requirements allow an additional two years beyond each of these compliance dates.

Washing lettuce. Photo Credit: Cornell University Extension

Employee Training

Regardless of whether your farm has implemented a food safety plan or not, the FDA requires approved training under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.

  • At least one supervisor or responsible party from a farm subject to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule must have successfully completed food safety training, at least equivalent to the standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the FDA.
  • All workers that handle or contact covered produce or supervise workers must be trained based on FSMA standards.  Everyone working on the farm should receive annual instruction on how to accomplish his/her job.  Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) should be developed to provide clear step-by-step instructions for how workers should complete their daily tasks.
  • Visitors to the farm must be made aware of food safety policies set by the farm, and visitors must have access to toilet and handwashing facilities.

To read more on FSMA, please visit The Food Safety Modernization Act and the FDA Facility Registration Program.

An approved Food Safety Training is scheduled for February 13 in Marianna at the Jackson County Extension Office.  For more information, and to register for the training, please visit:

Farm Food Safety Certification Training – February 13

 

 

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Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/01/06/things-you-should-know-about-farm-food-safety/

Firespikes for Fall Color and Hummingbird Food

Firespikes for Fall Color and Hummingbird Food

firespike-15Looking to add something to brighten your landscape this autumn?   Firespike (Odontonema strictum) is a prolific fall bloomer with red tubular flowers that are very popular with hummingbirds and butterflies.  It’s glossy dark green leaves make an attractive large plant that will grow quite well in dense shade to partial sunlight.  In frost-free areas firespike grows as an evergreen semi-woody shrub, spreads by underground sprouts and enlarging to form a thicket.  In zones 8 and 9 it usually dies back to the ground in winter and resprouts in spring, producing strikingly beautiful 9-12 inch panicles of crimson flowers beginning at the end of summer and lasting into the winter each year.  Firespike is native to open, semi-forested areas of Central America.  It has escaped cultivation and become established in disturbed hammocks throughout peninsular Florida, but hasn’t presented an invasive problem.  Here in the panhandle, firespike will remain a tender perennial for most locations. It can be grown on a wide range of moderately fertile, sandy soils and is quite drought tolerant. Firespike may be best utilized in the

Image Credit UF / IFAS Gsrdening Solutions

Image Credit UF / IFAS Gsrdening Solutions

landscape in a mass planting. Plants can be spaced about 2 feet apart to fill in the area quickly. It is one of only a few flowering plants that give good, red color in a partially shaded site. The lovely flowers make firespike an excellent candidate for the cutting garden and is a “must-have” for southern butterfly and hummingbird gardens.  Additional plants can be propagated from firespike by division or cuttings.  However, white-tailed deer love firespike too, and will eat the leaves, so be prepared to fence it off from “Bambi”.

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Author: Sheila Dunning – sdunning@ufl.edu


http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu

Sheila Dunning

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/11/08/firespikes-for-fall-color-and-hummingbird-food/

Alabama Food Safety Training November 3

The Mobile County Extension Office will be hosting a Food Safety Training Class on Thursday, November 3 from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.  The Class will be held at the Gulf Coast Research & Extension Center, 8300 State Highway 104, Fairhope, AL 36532.

The class will be conducted by Produce Safety Alliance trainers and will educate growers about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and will provide details on how to develop a farm food safety plan.

fresh-everyday-produce-standThe course will allow participants to gain a basic understanding of:

  • Microorganisms
  • Microbial Risk Mitigation
  • Farm Food Safety Plan Development
  • FSMA Produce Safety Rule Requirements

Upon completion of the class, participants will be eligible to receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) that verifies successful completion of the class.

For more information about the class, please see the class flyer.

Not all farms are required to be in compliance with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. The training is free to Alabama residents and costs $ 120 for out-of-state participants.  For compliance clarification or to register for the workshop please call the Mobile County Extension Office at (251)574-8445.

 

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Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/22/alabama-food-safety-training-november-3/

“Egg”cellent Food Safety Tips for Your Holiday

“Egg”cellent Food Safety Tips for Your Holiday

Easter Egg picIt seems that everywhere you look, an egg hunt is being advertised, egg dye kits are on every corner in the store, and the Internet is a-buzz with cool decorating ideas. Keep in mind this season that this fun family activity could turn rotten if you forget food safety.

Outbreaks of foodborne illness, especially salmonella, have been associated with the improper preparation and storage of eggs. Salmonella is not something you want to remember when you think back to memories of decorating and hunting eggs in the spring.

Common symptoms of salmonella include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, and headache. Children are one population most susceptible to foodborne illness.

There is no reason to worry about potential food safety hazards associated with your holiday eggs as long as you remember to follow these guidelines:

  • Clean and sanitize your hands, preparation area, and utensils before, during, and after the cooking process.
  • Use eggs that are clean and free of cracks and leaks.
  • Cook eggs completely – no rushing or short cuts. If you don’t have the time, pick another day to do it.
  • Use only food-grade dyes; these include food coloring and dye sold in egg dye kits.  Use beet juice, blueberry juice, etc. as alternatives to artificial dye.
  • Refrigerate eggs as soon as you are finished decorating or, if decorating later, after cooking and drying.
  • The refrigerator door is the warmest spot in your fridge; store eggs in the carton in the main compartment, not in the door.
  • Toss eggs that have been out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.  If eggs are not “found” or eaten, within this time, make the sacrifice and throw them away (of course, do this while the kids aren’t looking.)
  • When hiding eggs for a hunt, keep them in areas that are clean, free of dirt, and away from pets or pests.  Consider decorating one set for hunting and another for eating.
  • Hard-boiled eggs are safe for up to one week with proper cooking, storing, and handling procedures.

Keep these guidelines in mind for an “egg”cellent holiday with family, friends, and fun!

 

PG

Author: jbreslawski – jbreslawski@ufl.edu

jbreslawski

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/03/11/eggcellent-food-safety-tips-for-your-holiday/

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