As our August Focus On Alabama draws to a close, SPW Video Guru Jenni Kight finds out about the looming Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations that are breathing down farmers’ necks as dates for mandatory compliance draw near.
“We’re doing everything we can here at Auburn University to help farmers meets these guidelines and get those products on the market,” says Dr. Jane Weese, Acting Director of Auburn University Food Systems Institute.
“Every state had the opportunity to have in-state inspections rather than leave it to USDA,” Weese said. “My job from the FSMA grant helps institute the regulation to inspect farmers and make sure they’re raising their produce in a safe manner.”
Better yet, the Auburn program doesn’t cost farmers a dime.
“We’ve done lots of training with farmers to get them GAP certified — it’s expensive and it’s been a trial to get a lot of them to do that,” but Auburn has made it easy and inexpensive as possible for growers to be compliant, Weese says.
“Still, they have to go out and do the paperwork — and there’s a lot of paperwork. For a farmer that’s not been used to doing that it’s kind of an uphill slide and it’s our job to help them with that.”
Look for ongoing news from Alabama as SPW spreads out through out home region in coming weeks and months. We’ve grown more than 400% since our launch in March as we continue to introduce ourselves across the Southeast.
In September, we’ll put a spotlight on the Southeast Produce Council as it gets ready for the fall Southern Innovations Organics and Foodservice Expo at the end of the month.
From there, it’s on to New Orleans for PMA Fresh Summit. See you on the road!