Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training to Satisfy the Requirements of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule
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The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR) establishes science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce on farms. Operations covered under the FSMA PSR must meet standards for worker training, health and hygiene. Produce operators (e.g., growers, packers) subject to the PSR will need to comply with the new worker health, hygiene and training requirements. The need for a training curriculum to assist produce operators who are covered under the FSMA PSR is needed for compliance. This training curriculum includes all required standards outlined in subpart D including visual representations of personal health and hygiene; as well as, content to confidently train farm and packinghouse workers. This training curriculum was presented to >20 Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) agents and specialists in a train-the trainer model, who also evaluated the curriculum. As a result of the train-the trainer sessions, the curriculum has been refined by incorporation of VCE agent and specialist feedback, and is ready for use by stakeholders and extension educators nationwide. The training is currently available in English and Spanish, and is best taught using technology (e.g., Microsoft PowerPoint), but can be taught without technology (e.g., using printed aids). Overall, this curriculum will assist stakeholders in obtaining FSMA PSR compliance specific to subpart D in approximately <1 h, and can be taught directly by produce operators or through extension educators.