WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 20, 2016) – With FDA’s publication of the final Produce Safety Rule and the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act, United Fresh is launching a new, multi-faceted training program to assist produce industry members in complying with the regulations.

Both of these regulations will require that companies subject to these regulations have a qualified individual on staff (or consultant) trained to an FDA-approved curriculum. United Fresh will deliver FDA-approved training for growers and fresh-cut processors using curricula from the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) and the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) to address the two different regulations.

Preventive Controls Rule Training Schedule Set

 United Fresh has scheduled three FSPCA training sessions to train what are known as “Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals” under the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule. Individuals who complete this session will receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI) and The Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH), and be qualified to meet the standards in the regulation. Members can register for any of the three sessions on the United Fresh website.

• March 1-3 Salinas, CA

• March 14-16 Philadelphia, PA

• March 29-31 Orlando, FL

These three-day sessions are designed for fresh-cut processors to develop food safety plans that are in compliance with the Preventive Controls for Human Foods rule. The current FSPCA FDA-approved curriculum was designed for food processing facilities, thus this training program will be applicable to food processors and FDA-registered companies that cut fresh produce in their facilities. As FDA approves curricula for other types of food facilities subject to the rule, United Fresh anticipates adding additional training courses for those types of facilities.

The training sessions will be taught by United Fresh Senior Vice President Dr. David Gombas and a second FSPCA lead instructor. These sessions will be of specific value to the fresh-cut produce sector, as United Fresh has developed freshcut example plans that have been reviewed by FDA and will be used to ensure these sessions are relevant to fresh-cut companies.

Train-the-Trainer Session Offered on April 5-7 United Fresh will also host a “Train-the-Trainer” session for the Preventive Controls Rule in Salinas, CA April 5-7 designed for individuals who want to become “Lead Instructors,” which would enable them to the teach the course to colleagues in other company facilities. In order to attend the “Train-the-Trainer” course, applicants must submit an application through the Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) website, listing their educational background and experience to demonstrate their ability to become an instructor. After completing the on-line application to be considered as a Lead Instructor, the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) Selection Committee will approve applicants with the acceptable background. You will be contacted on the status of your application and if you are approved you will be notified and sent information on how to register for this course. The United Fresh “Train-the-Trainer” course will also be taught by Dr. Gombas, and will include the specific fresh-cut produce examples used in other courses. For more information about these courses including schedule, location and costs, please visit the United Fresh Food Safety Training webpage.

New Partnership With AgSafe To Host Grower Training

 United Fresh will also launch grower training to meet the requirements under the Produce Safety Rule, once an FDAapproved curriculum is finalized. United Fresh and AgSafe, a specialized agricultural educational non-profit organization based in Modesto, CA, have formed a partnership to deliver this grower training. Since its formation in 1991, AgSafe has trained nearly 50,000 agricultural employers, supervisors and farm workers about worker safety, health, human resources and food safety hazards impacting the industry. AgSafe education staff will teach the United Fresh/AgSafe Produce Safety Rule sessions. The partners plan to offer both “qualified individuals” training and “Train-the-Trainer” sessions to comply with the Produce Safety Rule. The schedule for grower training program dates and locations has not yet been set, since the Produce Safety Alliance and FDA are still finalizing an approved curricula. The partners anticipate beginning grower training sessions as soon as approved by FDA. “We’re really excited about our new partnership with such a highly-respected organization as AgSafe,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “AgSafe currently delivers a wide range of training to growers in the west, and we’re pleased to join in this new program to expand their services across the country.” “We also see this new joint venture as a tremendous opportunity and are thrilled to be working with the dynamic, progressive team at United Fresh,” said AgSafe President and CEO Amy Wolfe. “By working collaboratively, our organizations will leverage our strengths for the betterment of our members and the industry as a whole.” United Fresh and AgSafe will also provide members-only rates for members of either organization to participate in other training programs provided by the two organizations. “The Food Safety Modernization Act will bring fundamental change to the produce industry and all of our partners across the supply chain,” Stenzel said. “Training our industry members to understand and comply with these new regulations will be one of our most important tasks in the years ahead.” To learn more about United Fresh FSMA training programs, visit the United Fresh Food Safety Training website.

About United Fresh Produce Association

Founded in 1904, the United Fresh Produce Association brings together companies across every segment of the fresh produce supply chain, including growers, shippers, fresh cut processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, industry suppliers and allied associations. We empower industry leaders to shape sound government policy. We deliver the resources and expertise companies need to succeed in managing complex business and technical issues. We provide the training and development individuals need to advance their careers in produce. Through these endeavors, we unite our industry with a common purpose – to build long-term value for our members and grow produce consumption. Visit www.unitedfresh.org.