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Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Part 7 - Food Safety on the Farm


For a variety of reasons, including the demands of buyers and insurance companies, food safety has become a major concern in farming operations. Federal regulations governing food safety on the farm are still developing, but even in their absence, all growers should be aware of and employ practices that minimize the risk of food-borne contamination. This unit introduces the concept of food safety, and the steps involved in the developmnent of a food safety plan based on “good agricultural practices” (GAPS).

The first lecture discusses some of the reasons behind recent food safety concerns, reviews the categories of microbes and the pathogens most involved in food contamination, and discusses the need for a food safety plan and the current status of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Lecture 2 discusses potential sources of pathogens, practices that minimize risks of microbial contamination, and the use of logs, checklists, and standard operating procedures in implementing and tracking good agricultural practices. The concepts of conservation and biodiversity on the farm as they relate to food safety are also introduced, along with third party audits and sources for help in developing a food safety plan.

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