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Produce Safety Alliance Educators Call #24 & Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety Monthly Meeting May 4, 2017 1:30 PM EDT

Total Attendance: 91 (84 Attendees, 7 Panelists)
View webinar recording

Summary of Session – Joint meeting with Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety

A review of the key challenges, outcomes, and next steps as a result of the Soil Summit, held on March 28-29, 2017 in Geneva, NY that was hosted by the Produce Safety Alliance and Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University (IFS@CU). This meeting brought together the farming community, compost and soil experts, extension educators, industry members, and state and federal regulators to discuss the challenges and benefits of using raw manure and compost on fruit and vegetable farms. The Produce Safety Alliance staff as well as Dr. David Ingram, Consumer Officer with the FDA Division of Produce Safety, provided their insight into the key outcomes and learnings from the meeting and highlighted identified educational needs and next steps in discussion of the challenges associated with soil amendment use of produce farms.

*Additional data and information is provided in the slide and in the call recording.

May 4, 2017 Meeting Notes

I. NECAFS Update – Elizabeth Newbold

  • Referred to previous overview of NECAFS available on the PSA website
  • Invitation to upcoming events

II. Soil Summit

Summary – Dr. Betsy Bihn, Produce Safety Alliance Director

  • Background
  • Goals – clarification, risk assessment, break-out discussions
  • Expected Outcomes – better understanding, what research is missing, white paper
  • Participant Affiliations – Academia, State agencies, Grower Organizations, Retailers, Composters, Growers
  • Day 1 Agenda – presentations from FDA & PSA; 2 break out discussions (diverse mix of participants)
  • Day 2 Agenda – compost presentation; 3rd break out discussion
  • Summary – diverse perspectives and lots of textured detail
  • Highlights from each break-out session (see slides and recording for more information)
    • Raw Manure Use
    • Compost Use
    • Education & Outreach


Q: When will the summary will be available?
A: Notes haven’t been circulated to group yet. Our plan is to work on it through the summary and have something early in the fall.

Q: Manure Tea/Compost Tea? Were they discussed at this Summit?
A: Yes.

Q: How are they fitting into the Risk Assessment?
A: (FDA) Agricultural Teas – depends on what is being used to prepare the teas. If using manure source, covered under subpart F. We are focusing on manure use specifically in Risk Assessment.

Comment: Compost suppliers may not have required paperwork to be in compliance with the Produce Safety Rule.
Response: (FDA) Requirements for 3rd Party Suppliers will have guidance document. Subpart F Guidance under final review. Grower must source from an appropriate supplier who can provide the needed documentation. FDA is not regulating suppliers of compost.

PSR Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin – Dave Ingram

  • Summary of the codified and direction of planned guidance
  • Risk assessment will help solidify
  • Guidance document will break down into 6 primary steps for growers to assess risks, activities, and types of soil amendments used on the farm
  • FDA is letting science lead the direction in risk assessment
  • Commissioned studies to fill data gaps
  • Next steps – publish studies, continue work on risk assessment model, risk management team will assess and determine direction, publish risk assessment for public comment
  • The reserved application interval could be removed after that point or be adjusted


Q: Is the risk assessment to be used by farmers?
A: (FDA) Ideally, we would like to see an app developed.
Comment: Be sure to include other risk assessment tools for communities that do not use technology.

Q: Is the approach of risk assessment standardized, similar to agricultural water?
A: (FDA) You can expect to hear something soon, but we are not entirely sure what the process for that group (FSMA Agricultural Water Risk Assessment Team).

Next Steps – Betsy Bihn

  • Will share notes with participants and ask for feedback
  • Start drafting a white paper
  • Other Soil Summit interests: Tentative Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Atlanta, GA

III. Next Meeting: Tentative Monday, June 6, 2017 – 2 PM EDT

  • Tentative Agenda:
    • Update on PSA Training Numbers and Outreach
    • Review of new resources
  • Next month, we will be moving to Zoom rather than WebEx. Instructions to come!
  • Send additional items or topics for discussion to Gretchen at
  • Call in information will be sent closer to the date of the meeting