Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension county agricultural agents Wes Kline (Cumberland) and Meredith Melendez (Mercer) have been recognized for their work helping growers understand FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and other fresh produce food safety issues.
Their grant-funded work through the USDA Risk Management Education program was selected as a featured success story for 2017.
Also, Melendez, Kline and the on-farm food safety team was awarded the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Search for Excellence National Award for Farm Health and Safety. The team has trained over 6,000 individuals in the produce industry since 1999. This represents most New Jersey produce operations, including farms that grow for wholesale distribution, on-farm sales, direct market sales, as well as new and beginning farmers. The program raises awareness of food safety as one of the most important considerations in a produce operation. Training on farm food safety for growers is offered annually with additional presentations offered at meetings throughout the state. Workshop participants are provided training materials, sample record keeping forms and templates to write their own food safety plans. Additionally the team offers walk-through visits with farms to give guidance on current and proposed foods safety practices.
On-farm food safety resources are available on the Plant & Pest Advisory website.