AUFSI is collaborating with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) over the next five years to develop a statewide Produce Safety Program that aligns with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) nationwide Produce Safety Rule. The rule includes science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables. Together, AUFSI and ADAI will provide education, outreach, technical assistance, and training to farmers that handle produce covered under the rule. AUFSI’s main role will be to develop the training and education materials (online courses, face-to-face training materials, assessment, etc.) by working closely with both ADAI and our partner, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES).
The program will include regulator training to help ensure long-term enforcement of the Produce Safety Rule in Alabama. ADAI and AUFSI will receive $5.2 million from the FDA over the next five years to first perform a needs assessment for a Produce Safety Program and then carry out program training and education activities. These efforts will move the state of Alabama into the national Integrated Food Safety System (IFSS) and effectively fulfill the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Other states are simultaneously developing similar programs.