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Agenda

June 8, 2010
3:30 pm Eastern, 12:30 pm Pacific

 

 

Call Agenda: 

 

Ken Petersen of USDA GAP program, and Patrick Piementel of NSF/Davis Fresh will present, and answer any questions on the steps involved in creating alternative GAP programs which take the needs of small- and mid-scale producers into consideration.

Resource: Group Pilot Project Outline

 

Discussion of ongoing topics:

 

Housekeeping and organizational update

As the National Good Food Network (NGFN) continues to grow and develop organizationally, a committee structure has been defined in which the Food Safety (FS) Committee is being “repositioned” as a Working Group under the Buyer Engagement Committee.  This change does not affect the work of the former FS Committee.  We believe that this move accurately reflects the practical reality of GAP and Food Safety work in general: that its shape and form are largely dictated by buyer needs, and inadequately addressed they become “barriers to market access”.  Successful implementation of verifiable food safety practices are an important aspect of the enhancement of opportunity for scaling up the production and distribution of Good Food through the supply chain.

Federal Legislative / Regulatory Update

S510

The Food Safety Modernization Act is likely to hit the floor of the Senate right after the Memorial Day recess.  Business resumes in Congress on June 7th. 

USDA/FSIS HACCP Comment request

USDA has publicly attempted to calm fears that the HACCP review process would lead to new requirements that would disproportionately burden small butchers and processors. 

USDA has also released “guidance” on mobile slaughter plants.

FDA Produce handling guideline request

FDA Comment period has been extended to July 23 (see the press release)

FDA GAP project leader specifically has suggested that this opportunity can give aggregators a chance to state whether they have a particular view about on-farm food safety and how responsibility for food safety can and should be handled by aggregators.  If any Advisory Council members or other network members want help developing a position, let us know.  She also said that arranging for multiple delivery of a form letter would not increase the relevance or weight of its content.  Unique responses will each be given equal consideration.

Click here to read the request, and to submit your comments.

GAP Harmonization initiative

The draft Produce GAP Standard has been published by United Fresh.  Here is their announcement inviting comment on the standard:

To:  Fresh fruit and vegetable, specialty crop producers, and service providers

From: Dr. David Gombas and Erin Grether, United Fresh Produce Association on behalf of the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Technical Working Group (TWG)

May 21, 2010


The TWG has completed the first draft of the Produce GAPs Harmonized standard assembled from 13 existing standards, put forward for consideration in the harmonization process.

We are now moving from the review and assembly steps to a refinement process in which we will work to assure that we are meeting key aspects of the mandate our steering committee established:

The harmonized GAP standard will be appropriate for farmers of all scales, commodities and mixes of crops, locations (regions within North America), and production practices. 

We have maintained an open and transparent process throughout and are committed to continue doing so.

With that in mind, we are very happy to announce that we have created a blog spot on the United Fresh Website, in which you and your colleagues can begin commenting and discussing the first draft of the harmonized standard.  The blog has links to the draft standard, the Technical Working Group website, a United Fresh press release on the completion of the first draft, and news about upcoming meetings.

All comments made to this blog will be tracked and discussed at upcoming meetings; however, we would appreciate preliminary comments/posts by Tuesday, June 14, before our next meeting at Sysco in Houston, TX.  We will continue to take comments for discussion after the 14th for our July and August meetings, but it is important to respond as soon as possible, so your recommendations are addressed in a timely manner.

To be successful, we need the widest range of stakeholder perspectives at the table during the upcoming meetings.  You are encouraged to attend meetings and post comments to the blog; moreover, please share information with other colleagues to maximize comments and posts for discussion and push this invitation out to other stakeholders, particularly those that have been underrepresented until now.

To register for this blog, you must create a username and provide your email address. You will then be sent a password that you will be able to change.  We are asking you to register in order to minimize spam. 

The blog URL is:  http://www.unitedfresh.org/blog/.

 

Current NGFN and Partner Initiatives

 

FamilyFarmed.org Food Safety planning tool:

Work continues on decision tree and project development. For more on this project see our page on the FamilyFarmed.org project.


Wild Farm Alliance initiative to support NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Services):

Wild Farm Alliance has been invited to submit a full proposal to NRCS.  The proposal was submitted on June 2.  For more on this, see the notes for the March food safety call.

Global GAP group Certification and other “alternative” GAP approaches:

NSF Davis Fresh, a GlobalGAP approved auditing firm based in Watsonville, CA. is offering an online GAP / food safety training curriculum geared to smaller farmers.  NSF Davis Fresh General Manager Patrick Pimentel presented their “tiered” approach to GAP training and certification at our March committee call. This tiered approach is being presented to Sodexo and other major national buyers and is being actively piloted with Wal-Mart local suppliers.  Sodexo is a major institutional food service and cafeteria operator with contracts at many colleges and universities around the US. The NSF “tiered approach” synchronizes nicely with the Group GAP implementation outline that we presented last month and will revisit this month as part of the committee conference call.

 

Wallace Center / NGFN Commitment to evaluate and create QMS support tools:   

This month during the call we will walk through the program outline for GroupGAP certification and explain the concepts or any details that will help to make clear how this approach to delivering GAP training and certification can work.  We will examine the important issue of the buyer's role in the Group GAP process.

USDA GAP research and pilot project:

USDA AMS is moving forward to do some comparative training and auditing of individual farms and groups of farms during the current growing season.  Wallace/NGFN is working to help USDA Audit Program Coordinator Ken Petersen to identify potential groups, emerging and existing, for participation on this pilot/research project.  Funds are limited and the time frame is swift.  We will provide updates as more information becomes available, and hope to have Ken on our call on Tuesday, June 8th.

 

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