Outreach and Education for Hawai‘i Fruit and Vegetable Growers
Produce safety is of growing concern to fruit and vegetable operations, the regulatory community, and consumers as a result of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a federal law that grants the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) broad new regulatory authority over several types of farming and food production. To learn more about FSMA, click on our FSMA page.
While some Hawai‘i produce, and added-value operations will not likely be subject to FSMA regulations due to their relatively small size, wholesale buyers will increasingly demand documented food safety practices from their suppliers, just as retail customers look to become more aware of how their food is produced.
The Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is working with the FDA to provide outreach and education to Hawaii fruit and vegetable growers who will be impacted by the Produce Safety Rule. We are also working on a cooperative agreement with the FDA to build the program to promote understanding of the Produce Safety Rule.
The Produce Safety Rule
The Rule establishes, for the first time, science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. Some key requirements of the Rule are in: agricultural water; biological soil amendments; domesticated and wild animals; worker training and health & hygiene; equipment, tools and buildings; and recordkeeping. For a quick reference to the Produce Safety Rule, see FSMA PSR Key Requirements.
Just beginning to learn about the Produce Safety Rule? Here are some good starting points:
- Learn where your farm falls under the Rule – check out the Coverage and Exemptions/Exclusions flowchart from the FDA. Farms may fall under one of three categories (covered, qualified exempt, or excluded), with different requirements for each category. Where your farm falls depends on what you sell, who you sell to, and how much you sell.
- NEW: Produce Safety Rule Exemptions Webinar from the Produce Safety Alliance.
- Take a Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training class. This class is required for farms that are covered under the Rule. All growers, including those that may be excluded from the full Rule and any others interested in learning about produce safety, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and the FSMA Produce Safety Rule are encouraged to attend. To be notified when new training become available please contact Hawaii Produce Safety Program Manager, Luisa F. Castro at Luisa.F.Castro@hawaii.gov or at (808) 974-4130.
Produce Safety Alliance Grower Trainings
HDOA’s Produce Safety Program has partnered with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Cooperative Extension Farm Food Safety Outreach program to deliver the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training.
The Produce Safety Rule requires one representative from a farm to attend the PSA Grower Training (or other FDA-recognized curriculum). The PSA Grower Training helps growers to understand each part of the regulation and how to comply. Several Lead Trainers from HDOA and the Cooperative Extension have been trained to organize and teach the PSA Grower Training using a standardized curriculum created and administered by the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA). The PSA is a collaboration between Cornell University, FDA and USDA to prepare produce growers to meet the regulatory requirements included in FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule.
Additional dates will be posted here when they are set. Past training workshops have been presented in the following locations:
Hawaii Produce Safety Program staff work closely with the UH Cooperative Extension Farm Food Safety Outreach program, the Hawai‘i Department of Health, the Produce Safety Alliance at Cornell University, the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture among other state and federal partners, on food safety issues and FSMA implementation.
Audits for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
The HDOA’s Commodities Branch conducts USDA audits for fresh fruit and vegetable producers. As an independent third party, the HDOA inspectors act on behalf of the USDA to perform the audit. The types of audits provided by HDOA are listed below. For more information about audits, click on the Audit Services Program tab.
- Good Agricultural Practices & Good Handling Practices (GAP/GHP)
- Tomato Food Safety Audit Protocol
- Produce GAPs Harmonized Food Safety Standard Audit (coming soon)
If you are a producer or operator with questions or concerns about FSMA or produce safety, we want to hear from you! Contact Hawaii Produce Safety Program Manager, Luisa F. Castro at Luisa.F.Castro@hawaii.gov or at (808) 974-4130.