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Produce Safety Educator's Group - Meeting Notes and Resources

The Produce Safety Educator's Group was formed in 2013 for the purpose of keeping educators, specifically those who are focused on produce safety outreach and extension, up-to-date on the latest educational resources, training opportunities, regulatory updates, and produce industry initiatives. The group includes over 400 educators from across the country, primarily from Extension and other produce industry organizations. Meeting agendas are created in response to the group’s request for discussion topics or as pertinent events and updates occur. The meeting typically lasts no more than 1 hour and is hosted via Zoom (toll-free) to share slides and audio.

If you are interested in joining the group, sign up here.
Previous meeting notes, presentations, and audio recordings are archived below.

Next Call:

Produce Traceability: One State’s Approach to Improving Traceability Across the Produce Supply Chain

November 22, 2021 | 2-3 PM ET | Call #57

Elizabeth Bihn, Ph.D. - Produce Safety Alliance Director
Jennifer Trodden, M.S., CSP - Deputy Commissioner - New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets

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Managing Food Safety Risks While Using Soil Amendments: An Overview of New Resources

August 16, 2021 | Attendance: 60 | Call #56
Soil amendment use is one option among a number of management practices that growers have to support plant growth and build healthy soils. In this webinar, Alda Pires (UC Davis) and Elizabeth Bihn (Produce Safety Alliance) reviewed current research and two supplemental modules developed by PSA exploring benefits and risk reduction practices when using biological soil amendments of animal origin (BSAAO) on produce farms. The first module will discuss how growers can minimize the risks of using untreated soil amendments through application intervals, storage, handling, and record-keeping practices, including recent research on pathogen survival in BSAAO-amended soils. The second module will highlight science-based composting practices that growers can use to minimize risk. 

Becoming a PSA Lead Trainer: How to Build Your Foundation for Training Success

June 21, 2021 | Attendance: 49 | Call #55
Speakers/Moderators: Donna Clements, PSA Southwest Regional Extension Associate, Gretchen Wall, PSA Coordinator & Northeast Regional Extension Associate, and Billy Mitchell, FSMA Training Coordinator - National Farmers Union
PSA Lead Trainer Panelists: Elisabeth Hodgdon, Cornell Cooperative Extension; Barrett Vaughn, Tuskegee University; Karen Ullman, Washington State Department of Agriculture

 In collaboration with the Local Food Safety Collaborative, the PSA team briefly reviewed the PSA Lead Trainer application process, provided an overview of suggested resources to help you prepare, and discussed tips for developing your PSA Lead Trainer application. A panel discussion with PSA Lead Trainers followed which provided lessons learned and key information prospective PSA Lead Trainers should know to set themselves up for long-term training success.

Key Legal Questions Associated with FSMA Produce Safety Rule Compliance

May 25, 2021 | Attendance: 68 | Call #54
Speakers: Sophia Kruszewski, Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School (CAFS) and Elizabeth Newbold, Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety (NECAFS)

In this webinar, Sophia Kruszewski from the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School (CAFS) and Elizabeth Newbold from NECAFS shared the outputs of their joint project that identified, researched, and developed educational resources relating to key legal questions associated with compliance with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. NECAFS and CAFS worked together to research commonly asked FSMA Produce Safety Rule legal questions and create educational resources that provide clarity and understanding for producers and food processors. Elizabeth and Sophia talked about the range of topics covered in the educational material created, including: legal liability, variation in state implementation, farms with multiple business entities, and more. All resources are available at

This webinar is not intended to provide, nor should it be construed as providing, legal advice. Any information presented therein is purely for educational purposes. If you seek legal advice, please consult an attorney licensed in your state for assistance. This project is funded by the National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

An Overview of On-Farm Readiness Review and FSMA Produce Safety Rule Inspection Findings

April 5, 2021 | Attendance: 94 | Call #53
Speakers: Meredith Melendez, Rutgers University, and Leah Cook, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

In this webinar, Meredith Melendez (Rutgers University) and Leah Cook (Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry) gave an overview of findings from On-Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) surveys and FSMA Produce Safety Rule inspections in the Northeast. Meredith and Leah discussed how the OFRR survey data and inspection results compared, as well as how these findings can be used by trainers to emphasize topics during PSA Grower Training Courses. 

Remote Training Delivery Tips

February 22, 2021 | Attendance: 33 | Call #52
Speaker: Dr. Connie Fisk, PSA Northwest Regional Extension Associate

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many produce safety educators to offer courses remotely. On this call, Dr. Connie Fisk, the PSA’s Northwest Regional Extension Associate, provided tips and recommendations for offering remote PSA Grower Training Courses. These recommendations are based on Connie’s experience in offering remote training office hours and helping collaborators move to offering effective remote courses.

Focus on Sprout Safety

January 25, 2021  | Attendance: 104 | Call #51
Speakers: Dr. Kaiping Deng, FDA/Sprout Safety Alliance; Ms. Carmen Wakeling, President of the International Sprout Growers Association (ISGA)

During this webinar, Carmen Wakeling, President of the International Sprout Growers Association (ISGA), gave an overview of the sprout industry, including opportunities for research and areas of continuous improvement. Kaiping Deng, former Co-Lead and Coordinator of the Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA), highlighted the differences in FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements for sprout growers and other produce growers, and described available SSA trainings and related resources. After the presentations, participant questions were answered by Kaiping and Carmen, along with sprout growers Manny Wong and Robin Taylor.  

Stress on the Farm

November 2, 2020  | Attendance: 58  | Call #50
Speaker: Kate Downes, Outreach Director for NY FarmNet, Cornell University

Producers are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress this year ranging from rocky commodity markets to navigating new safety regulations to unusual weather events to living in a global pandemic, all while balancing the daily grind of operating a farm. It's easy to bury thoughts and emotions when times are tough, but that can impact your well-being, as well as your farm’s. Join Kate Downes, Outreach Director for NY FarmNet, a program at Cornell University, walked through identifying signs of stress in yourself, friends, and family, and how to build your well-being.

COVID-19: What we have done? Where we are headed?

September 28, 2020  | Attendance: 81  | Call #49
COVID-19 has changed our personal and professional lives since March. This call highlighted what it has taken for us all to step up and to continue to provide great food safety education in the midst of a pandemic. The presentation included discussion with the PSA team, North Carolina State University’s, Natalie Seymour, and University of Minnesota’s, Annalisa Hultberg.

Tips for Trainers: Module 7 - How to develop a farm food safety plan

June 15, 2020 | Attendance: 41   | Call #48
During this webinar, Mr. Hans Estrin, University of Vermont Extension, discussed ways to engage your audience and deliver an effective presentation for Module 7 of the PSA curriculum.

Tips for Remote PSA Grower Trainings

May 18, 2020 |  | Attendance: 95  | Call #47
Speakers: Dr. Connie Fisk (PSA), Ms. Heather Russell (Cornell Cooperative Extension), and Dr. Jovana Kovacevic (Oregon State University)
During this webinar, presenters discussed tips for hosting PSA Grower Training courses remotely using a web-based platform called Zoom, including how to avoid "Zoombombing" and tools for dissemination of pre- and post-tests.

Setting the Record Straight on Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond

Monday, April 27, 2020 | Attendance: 109  | Call #46
Speaker: Dr. Ruth Petran, Senior Corporate Scientist - Food Safety and Public Health at Ecolab, discussed principles of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting, including EPA List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2.

SPANISH Delivery: Temporary Remote Delivery Policy and the Online PSA Grower Training Course

March 26, 2020 | 2-3 PM Eastern
Speaker: Dr. Laura Acuña-Maldonado

Temporary Remote Delivery Policy and the Online PSA Grower Training Course

March 23, 2020 | 2-3 PM Eastern | Call #45
Speakers: PSA Team
Note: As a result of questions and concerns discussed on the March 23, 2020 call, the PSA decided to adjust the temporary remote training delivery policy. These updates are shared in a short presentation and recording below as well (see March 31, 2020 updates). 

Building Capacity in Your Training Team

February 3, 2020 | Attendance: 37 | Call #44
Speakers: Dr. Connie Fisk, PSA Northwest Extension Associate; Ms. Annalisa Hultberg, University of Minnesota Extension

USDA-AMS Programs

January 13, 2020 | Attendance: 42 | Call #43
Speaker: Jeff Davis, Business Development Specialist, Specialty Crops Program

Eight Fascinating Cases Impacting Indians and Tribes

November 25, 2019 | Attendance: 51 | Call #42
Speakers: Stephen Pevar, Senior Staff Counsel - American Civil Liberties Union

Tribal Culture

November 4, 2019 | Attendance: 65 | Call #41
Speaker: Roylene Comes At Night, Washington State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

Module 3: Soil Amendments

September 30, 2019 | Attendance: 76 | Call #40
Speakers: Sara Runkel, Assistant Professor of Practice, Horticulture, Oregon State University Extension and Tucker Diego, Agricultural Production Specialist, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
Summary: Tips for teaching Module 3 - Soil Amendments were shared in this webinar. 

Updates from the PSA

August 26, 2019 | Attendance: 95 | Call #39
Speakers: PSA Team
Summary: During this call, PSA provided updates on the recently released Version 1.2 of the curriculum, the launch of our Spanish website, along with other initiatives and plans for the future.

Building a One-way Street: Backflow Prevention Strategies for Produce Farms

May 20, 2019 | Attendance: 68 | Call #38
Speaker: Chris Callahan, Associate Extension Professor - Agricultural Engineering, University of Vermont; Director of the Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety (NECAFS)

Produce Safety Rule Draft Guidance Discussion

March 26, 2019 | Attendance: 102 | Call #37
Speakers: PSA Team

Module 2 - Focus on Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training

February 25, 2019 | Attendance: 99 | Call #36
Speakers: Darrell McGuire, Food Safety Specialist, Deep South Food Alliance; Joan Olson, Farmer/Owner, Prairie Drifter Farm

Postharvest Sanitizers for Fruits & Vegetables

October 29, 2018 | Attendance: 104 | Call #35
Speakers: Dr. Amanda Deering, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science, Purdue University; Ms. Donna Pahl Clements, PSA Southwest Extension Associate

How to Avoid "Stepping in It" at your PSA Grower Training

September 24, 2018 | Attendance: 61 | Call #34
Organizer: Dr. Connie Fisk, Northwest Extension Associate, PSA
Speakers: Dr. Connie Fisk

On-Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) Program & Toolkit

July 31, 2018 | Attendance: 85 | Call #33
Organizer: Dr. Kristin Woods, Southeast Extension Associate, PSA
Speakers: Dr. Michelle Danyluk, University of Florida; Mr. Bob Ehart, NASDA

PSA Lead Trainer Process, Lead Trainer Challenges, Improving Trainer Competencies, & Professional Development Opportunities for Produce Safety Educators

June 25, 2018 | Attendance: 48 | Call #32
Speaker: Donna Pahl, Southwest Extension Associate, PSA

Shine Some Light Down that Rabbit Hole: Coverage & Exclusions in the PSA Grower Training

May 21, 2018 | Attendance: 78 | Call #31
Speaker: Dr. Don Stoeckel, Midwest Extension Associate, PSA

Water Summit Summary & Ag Water Resources

March 26, 2018 | Attendance: 65 | Call #30

Updates on the USDA Harmonized & USDA Harmonized Plus+ GAPs Audits

February 5, 2018 | Attendance: 81 | Call #29
Guest speaker: Jennifer Dougherty, USDA Audit Programs Coordinator

Focus on Food Safety & Wildlife

January 8, 2018 | Attendance: 54 | Call #28
Guest speaker: Dr. Paula Rivadeneira, Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist in the Department of Soil, Water, & Environmental Science at the University of Arizona - Yuma Agricultural Center

State Produce Implementation Cooperative Agreement Program

October 2, 2017 | Attendance: 76 | Call #27

PSA Updates and Agricultural Water Challenges Discussion

August 29, 2017 | Attendance: 80 | Call #26

Update on Produce Safety Educational Resources Around the Country

July 25, 2017 | Attendance: 61 | Call #25

Soil Summit Summary

May 4, 2017 | Attendance: 91 | Call #24

2016 Wrap Up Call

December 5, 2016 | Attendance: 72 | Call #23

Established Partnerships for Supporting In-State Produce Safety

September 19, 2016 | Attendance: 82 | Call #22

Updates from the Produce Safety Alliance

August 15, 2016 | Attendance: 72 | Call #21

Updates from the Sprout Safety Alliance and Preventive Controls Alliance

June 13, 2016 | Attendance: 54 | Call #20

Background & Research Needs on Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin (BSAAO)

May 23, 2016 | Attendance: 56 | Call #19

State Implementation of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule: Background, Vision, & Current Efforts

April 25, 2016 | Attendance: 69 | Call #18
Guests: Bob Ehart, Senior Policy & Science Advisor, NASDA
Art Johnstone, Produce Safety Project Manager, NASDA

GroupGAP Certification 

March 21, 2016 | Attendance: 44 | Call #17a
Guest: Donna Burke-Fonda Assistant Branch Chief, Audit Services Branch, Specialty Crops Inspection Division

FSMA Preventive Controls Rule: Farm Definition 

October 13, 2015 | Attendance: 62 | Call #16a
Guest: Jenny Scott, FDA Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

PSA Updates: Grower and Train-the-Trainer Manuals & Trainer Certification Process

May 11, 2015 | Attendance: 46 | Call #17

Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance & Sprout Safety Alliance Updates

April 6, 2015 | Attendance: 42 | Call #16
Guests: Mr. Gerald Wojtala, Executive Director, IFPTI
Dr. Kaiping Deng, Senior Scientist, IIT-IFSH

PSA Updates: Milestones and Summary of Training Pilots

February 23, 2015 | Attendance: 56 | Call #15

FSMA Produce Safety Rule Supplemental Discussion

November 10, 2014 | Attendance: 29 | Call #14

Proposed FSMA Rule Supplemental Overviews - FSVP, PSR, and PC Rules

October 20, 2014 | Call #13
Guests: Mr. Brian Pendleton, J.D. – Senior Policy Advisor, FDA; Dr. Samir Assar – Produce Safety Staff Director, FDA; Dr. Mickey Parish – Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety; Ms. Joy Johanson and Dr. Michael Mahovic, Consumer Safety Officers Produce Safety Staff; Ms. Scarlett Salem, Produce Safety Staff; Dr. Rita Nalubola, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Policy; Ms. Kruti Ravaliya, ORISE Fellow

FDA Findings from the 2013 Cantaloupe Packinghouse Sampling Assignment

August 27, 2014 | Attendance: 66 | Call #12
Guests: Dr. Mike Mahovic, Consumer Safety Officer; Ms. Scarlett Salem, Staff Fellow; and Ms. Annemarie Buchholz, Consumer Safety Officer, FDA-CFSAN 

FDA's Operational Strategy for Implementing FSMA

July 7, 2014 | Attendance: 95 | Call #11
Guest: Kathy Gombas, Deputy Director of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Update from the Sprout Safety Alliance & PSA Updates

June 2, 2014 | Attendance: 35 | Call #10
Guests: Ms. Robin Kalinowski – Director, Center for Specialty Programs, Institute of Food Safety and Health
Dr. Tong-Jen Fu - Research Chemical Engineer, FDA Division of Food Processing Science and Technology

FDA Traceability Efforts

May 5, 2014 | Attendance: 40 | Call #9
Guest: Sherri McGarry, Senior Advisor, FDA Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine

PSA National Training Needs & Survey Review

April 7, 2014 | Attendance: 31 | Call #8

Review of Soil Amendment Use Survey Responses

March 3, 2014 | Attendance: 19 | Call #7

Discussion about Soil Amendment Use & Produce Packing, Holding, & Handling Activities On Farms

February 10, 2014 | Attendance: 37 | Call #6

Environmental Impact Assessment on Proposed Produce Safety Rule

January 13, 2014 | Attendance: 37 | Call #5
Guest: Dr. Annette McCarthy, Consumer Safety Officer, FDA CFSAN


December 9, 2013 | Attendance: 41 | Call #4
Guests: Ken Petersen, Audit Programs Managers, USDA-AMS

Discussion on Manure Handling & NOP Requirements

November 18, 2013 | Attendance: 51 | Call #3

PSA Updates: Curriculum Development, Trainer Qualifications, and AFDO Certificates

October 15, 2013 | Attendance: 48 | Call #2

Discussion & Feedback on FDA Fact Sheets & Resources for Farmers

September 9, 2013 | Attendance: 64 | Call #1

Educator Perspectives of the Produce Safety Rule: Facilitated Discussion

June 18, 2013 | Attendance: 21

Guests: Dr. Samir Assar, Director, FDA Produce Safety Staff; Dr. Linda Harris, Cooperative Extension Specialist, UC Davis; Ms. Sue Challis, Health Comm. Specialist, Office of the Deputy Comm. for Foods & Vet Medicine; Ms. Scarlett Salem, FDA Staff Fellow