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Food Safety Call - 09 Feb 2010

NGFN Food Safety Conference Call

February 9, 2010


Listen to the recording of the call (.mp3)

Interested in being a beta tester of the Food Safety Toolkit? Let us know: See below for some more details or listen to the recording (link above), starting at about 45 seconds.



The NGFN hosts a monthly food safety conference call to keep interested parties abreast of ongoing efforts to address food safety needs while supporting NGFN's market-based approach to scaling up the production and distribution of local and regionally produced “good food”: healthy food, sustainably produced.

Regulatory update

Hear the latest information from Washington in an “executive summary” form.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and the National Organic Coalition (NOC) have been leading the discussion with lawmakers on behalf of “good food” producers.  Currently the focus is on making the Senate Food Safety bill S510 “sustainable and organic” friendly with a particular focus on:

  1. Providing guidance in the process of establishing produce regulations,
  2. Improving the definition of “food facilities” to avoid reclassifying farms that do value adding as FDA regulated facilities,
  3. Protecting “identity preserved products” from overly proscriptive, technology driven approaches to traceability
  4. Developing training programs according to guidelines developed in Senator Stabenow's proposed “Growing Safe Food Act”, S2758, which they argue should be included as part of the larger Food Safety bill S510



GAP Harmonization update

United Fresh Produce Association, at the behest of a group of major produce buyers and producers, facilitates a “technical working group” (TWG) which is charged with gathering “GAP Standards” from willing standard owners, and “harmonizing” them into a “universally acceptable GAP” that addresses all of the core elements of GAP. This ambitious undertaking can, if successful, stem the tide of “Supermetrics”: buyer driven “one-upmanship” in GAP standards which can unduly burden producers with expensive, conflicting, and redundant requirements.  Nearly all private standard owners from the mainstream industry are working together in the Harmonization.  Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) has added its GAP program to the harmonization mix, and other alternative GAP programs are encouraged to join in.  The Wallace Center/NGFN's Food Safety Coordinator is actively involved in this process.  The TWG harmonized GAP is expected to be scalable, support diverse farms as well as commodity farms, as well as organic and alternative production methods.



Farm Food Safety planning tool has assembled a Technical Working group of diverse stakeholders from industry and alternative venues and is developing a tool to assist farmers with the creation of a farm food safety plan.  Eventually this tool will be available on the internet so that farmers can individually, or with the assistance of local service providers, develop their own on farm food safety plan and training manuals and standard operating procedures (SOPs).  Wallace Center/NGFN is supporting this project and will offer information on timing and availability of this tool.

Interested in being a beta tester of the Food Safety Toolkit? Let us know:


GlobalGAP and Group Certification

The “one farm – one field – one audit” approach to food safety is a barrier to many farms as they seek to engage current buyer expectations about on food safety “best practices”.  On large farms, a trained Food Safety Coordinator interfaces with external auditors, presenting internal audit information and assuring compliance with food safety plans, possibly across many fields owned by the single large farm.  In these instances, the skill and level of training of the Food Safety Coordinator who manages risk-based plans, including field review and inspection “stand in” for “one farm – one field – one audit”.  Spot inspection by external auditors supports the annual review of audit reports prepared by the Coordinator.  The “Group approach”, pioneered by GlobalGAP offers an alternative model in which groups of producers are able to emulate the approach of larger, individually owned farms (with multiple fields).  NGFN is working in cooperation with GlobalGAP, and enlisting the further support of USDA and private certifiers, along with SYSCO and other major buyers, to develop pilot projects in 2010 for groups of smaller producers who market together as an aggregating/distributing entity, to test the group certification approach.  If successful, this approach will bring high standards of food safety training and oversight to locales where farmers are able to market and work together as groups.

Read more about GlobalGAP Group Certification here.


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