NECAFS Webinars

NECAFS webinars feature a range of food safety topics aimed at sharing food safety information and increasing collaboration across the Northeast.  All webinars are open to the public, so please check the "upcoming events" section for updated webinar information.

A Summary of On-Farm Readiness Review Evaluations, Recorded October 24th, 2019

At the end of every On-Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) a post farm visit evaluation is completed.  This webinar discusses all of the information gathered through those evaluations over the past year. Over 1,000 OFRRs have been completed with over half taking place in the Northeast region. Meredith Melendez, Rutgers University, has summarized all of the OFRR post farm visit evaluations completed across the Northeast region and presents on the top findings, including:

  •     areas of challenge,
  •     most common areas of improvement needed,
  •     specific deficiencies in compliance, and
  •     priority areas articulated in the top findings.

Acidified Canned Foods Webinar, Recorded September 25th, 2019

UMass Amherst developed 12 shelf-stable acidified canned food recipes for commercial use. During the webinar, Amanda Kinchla described the research and process behind developing these recipes, including:

  • Converting them to small scale-appropriate product formulations,
  • Establishing the appropriate food safety controls,
  • Having the product formulas reviewed by a regulatory approved Process Authority to issue a validated scheduled process for commercial use, and
  • How processors can request access to these recipes for their own market use.

Attendees learned about the overall product development process, reviewed the product formulation manual, and discussed some product development challenges. This presentation is intended for researchers/educators who may want to undertake a product development project or are helping small producers and processors understand the product development process and how to comply with the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule. It is also intended for small producers and processors who are exploring the option of selling shelf-stable products, such as salsas, sauces and/or acidified pickled products.


Introduction to UVM Produce Safety Portal, Recorded May 17, 2019

The University of Vermont Extension Vegetable and Berry Program is excited to announce their new Produce Safety Portal. This project updates UVM Extension's existing produce safety website which was created as a site specifically for growers where informational documents relating to food safety would be housed. This new portal envisions the needs of fruit and vegetable farms of all sizes in VT and has created an on-line platform designed to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and sharing of innovation. This grower focused portal is a place where farmers can upload, for example, a simple photo of a food safety practice with a description of best practices so that other farmers can learn from it.

Presenters, Hans Estrin and Rachel Schattman provide background on the project and describe how they engaged farmers in the design and creation of the UVM Produce Safety Portal in order for best serve growers' needs. They also explain how to conduct a search for information and images, save searches and favorites, and add relevant content to its curated repository.

This project was funded by the NECAFS Special Projects Grant Program.


Updates on FSMA Legal Research Efforts, Recorded May 15, 2019

NECAFS and the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School (CAFS) are pleased to share updates on the status of their joint project - the Extension Legal Services Initiative (ELSI) - to identify, research, and provide educational resources relating to key legal questions associated with compliance with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.

This project initiated in late 2018 and efforts to solicit input from the produce community to help identify and prioritize legal research questions started with a national survey and the convening of a group of advisors from across the country including produce growers, educators, trade associations, advocates, regulators, and attorneys.

This webinar provides background on the project and shares updates on research status and findings, including the results from our national survey.

We gladly accept your feedback to inform our project direction and the development of educational resources.  Please complete this survey to help inform our continued FSMA legal research work.

Disclaimer: This webinar is not intended to provide, nor should it be construed as providing, legal advice. Any information presented therein is purely for educational purposes. If you seek legal advice, please consult an attorney licensed in your state for assistance.

This project is funded by the National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Introduction to Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis in Produce Webinar, Recorded November 1st, 2018

Introduction to Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis in Produce

1. Describe the difference between hazard and risk
2. Better understand how, in the context of the Produce Safety Rule, to identify on farm hazards, assess the degree to which the hazard need control, and the potential risks associated with that hazard

Why is it important to understand the difference between hazard analysis and risk assessment? These terms are commonly in food processing since both are part of HACCP. However, both are relatively new terms in produce safety. When these terms are confused and conflated by growers and others in implementing the Produce Safety Rule this may lead to anxiety and ambiguity and a confusion about what risks actually need attention. This webinar increases our understanding of the differences between hazard analysis and risk assessment so growers can make risk-based decisions when developing on-farm food safety implementation plans.

This webinar features Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University, who will talk about the differences between hazard analysis and risk assessment, two terms that are often confused or conflated. Michelle Danyluk, Associate Professor in Food Microbiology and Safety at the University of Florida and Don Schaffner explore what hazard and risk mean in the context of the Produce Safety Rule and On-Farm Readiness in an open ended question and answer session.

Update on FSMA PSR Water Testing Methods: Review of New Guidance Webinar, Recorded October 30th, 2018

The goals of this webinar were to:

  • Better understand some of the key points regarding the approved Produce Safety Rule (PSR) water methods
  • Better understand on-farm water sampling processes that are suitable under the PSR and consistent with the various testing methods
  • Learn what information will be valuable for growers to understand within the PSR water testing methods
  • Learn about the database of water quality testing labs project being led by Michigan State University Extension, what is this resource, how can you access it and next steps in its development

The Food and Drug Administration released a list of Equivalent Testing Methodology for Agricultural Water which outlines water testing methods found to be scientifically valid that will meet the water testing method described in the Produce Safety Rule. What does this list mean? What information do you need to share with your growers to ensure they communicating effectively with their labs and taking water samples properly?

Don Stoeckel, Produce Safety Alliance, presents and takes a closer look at each of the described water testing methods. He briefly describes the process that goes on at the lab and the hold time and temperature requirements that might apply for the different methods. This is not overly scientific but rather aims to describe some of the specifics of the equivalent water testing methods that would be helpful to better understand, so that we can help our growers through the testing process.

To close, Marissa Schuh and Ben Phillips, Michigan State University Extension, provide an overview on their work creating a database of water quality testing labs. This database lists labs that are capable of providing the tests needed by growers to meet the PSR. Marissa and Ben describe their efforts to create this database.

Harmonized GAP FSMA Alignment Overview, Recorded July 12, 2018

Ken Petersen, Chief of the USDA-AMS Audit Services Branch, discusses specifics around the new Harmonized GAP checklist, current resources available to help growers, planned development of additional resources and next steps.

Food Safety Projects Round Table Webinar, Recorded May 10, 2018

Presenters during this webinar highlighted planned and current food safety projects across the country.

Presenters and Topics Covered Include:

Topic: Michigan Water Needs Assessment
Presenter: Marissa Schuh,Michigan State University Extension
Summary: A water lab assessment was developed and circulated to various water labs in the state to generate a list of labs that not only provided the appropriate test for growers wishing to comply with the FSMA PSR, but also could recognize the particular needs of a grower submitting samples to a lab to meet PSR requirements.

Topic: Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin
Presenter: Phil Tocco, Michigan State University Extension    
Summary: Michigan collaborators worked together to conduct a series of two-day grower targeted BSAAO workshops. These workshops covered aspects of good composting, creation of food safe compost, and linked the information back to the Produce Safety Rule.

Topic: FSPCA Training Assistance for Missouri Food Processors
Presenter: Londa Nwadike, University of Missouri Extension
Summary: The state of Missouri currently has limited technical assistance available for food processors through Extension and other University sources. We are currently working on finding resources to hire someone through the University of Missouri that can serve as a process authority and teach FSPCA courses.

Topic: Fruits, Vegetables, and FSMA Compliance: Multilingual Audiovisual Food Safety Training for Farms and Packinghouses
Presenter: Betsy Bihn, Cornell University
Summary: The purpose of this project is to develop a multilingual food safety educational video training program for farm and packinghouse workers that will incorporate new FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements.

Topic: Expanding Food Safety Outreach and Education to Small and Mid-sized Farms in NY & VT
Presenter: Maryellen Sheehan, Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY (NOFA-NY)
Summary: The goal is to provide fresh produce farms with farm food safety trainings and determine compatibility between the Organic Production Plan required for organic certification with the GAPS and VT CAPS (Community Accreditation for Produce Safety) tool to avoid redundancy and provide efficiencies for farmers.

Topic: Food Safety Management Training for Small and Emerging Food Businesses: Integrating a Food Safety Culture from Concept to Commercialization
Presenter: Amanda Kinchla, University of Massachusetts Extension
Summary: This program will develop and implement a sustainable food safety-training program specifically to small entrepreneurial processors that are in need of technical assistance to develop local food products. Key concepts from the PCHF standardized curriculum will be modified to meet the current needs of the target audience and better prepare them for making the transition from PCHF exemption to compliance as their businesses grow.

Topic: Expanding Food Safety Education in MA and Shifting from Voluntary to Regulatory Compliance
Presenter: Lisa McKeag, University of Massachusetts Extension
Summary: The goal of this project is to adapt UMass Extension produce safety training materials for vegetable and fruit growers to address the requirements of the FSMA's Produce Safety Rule, and to work with other agricultural organizations around the state to broaden the audience for training delivery.


FDA perspective: Regulating under Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule, Recorded April 16, 2018

Glenn Bass, Deputy Director of Office of Regulatory Affair, Office of Human and Animal Foods Operation West, FDA sets the stage regarding the organization of the FDA's food-related programs leading into the current Food Safety Modernization Act. The discussion includes the training requirements of regulators conducting PCHF compliance inspections, regulatory inspection compliance data trends, lessons learned during the first stage of the incremental roll-out for compliance, misconceptions, and moving forward/next steps.


Northeast Produce Safety Network (PSN) Introduction Webinar, Recorded March 21, 2018

You meet the Northeast based members of the PSN and learn more about their role throughout the region regarding guidance for and implementation of the Produce Safety Rule.

The FDA created the Produce Safety Network to provide region based support in the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. In response to regional differences in growing practices and increased reliance on state regulatory partners, the PSN is comprised of regionally based produce safety experts responsible for collaborating and communicating with regional partners to support implementation and compliance with the Produce Safety Rule.

Introduction to NECAFS Clearinghouse Webinar, Recorded March 13, 2018

You hear more about the history and development of the Clearinghouse, including a discussion of user (both searcher and contributor) features.

The Clearinghouse:

- Provides direct links to all types of food safety resources

- Is populated directly by the individuals creating the material

- Requires an account to post to avoid spam submissions

- Is open to the public and does not require an account to search

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Highlights from Food Safety Conferences, Recorded September 29, 2017

This webinar discussed summer food safety conferences with specific discussion on the Center for Produce Safety Research Symposium (CPS), the International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting (IAFP) and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) with the goals of sharing information learned and to help attendees know which conferences may be relevant for them to attend in the future.

On-Farm Readiness Review Webinar, Recorded July 31, 2017

On-Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) is a plan and tool-kit designed to be used by regulators and educators to prepare farmers for compliance with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.  This webinar featured a presentation and discussion from Wes Kline, Rutgers University, on the goals of OFRR, a summary of the on-farm pilot process of the program this summer with discussion on lessons learned, and more information on what to expect during final roll out.


Tailoring FSMA Education to the Plain Community, Recorded on June 9, 2017

This webinar featured a presentation and discussion on adapting educational programing, with the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training as a specific example, to meet the needs of the plain community. Amish and Mennonite produce farmers do not use the internet as source of farming information and they do not generally belong to formal farming organizations. Therefore, it is critical to develop personalized delivery methods to meet these educational needs.

Jeff Stoltzfus, Penn State Extension provided a background on the plain community in Pennsylvania and beyond. He further discussed the unique practices, preferences and learning styles of the community. Luke LaBorde, Penn State Extension discussed his USDA, Food Safety Outreach Program Grant “Development of an alternative FSMA compliant produce safety curriculum for plain sect and other smaller fresh produce growers” and presented on their proposed alternative modes of delivery for the PSA curriculum.

Regional Food Safety Project Roundtable Webinar, Recorded May 19, 2017

This webinar featured food hub presenters from across the region who discussed what actions they are taking to address food safety within their operations.  The presenters described their specific food hub operations, general food safety challenges, planned changes and successes.

File Contact Information for Webinar Presenters

Soil Summit Summary Webinar, Recorded May 4, 2017

NASDA National Consortium Meeting Summary Webinar, Recorded March 24th, 2017

This webinar featured a summary discussion of the recently held National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) National Consortium for Produce Safety Program Development Meeting. 

NASDA Provides Leadership Support

  • NASDA, through cooperative agreement with the FDA, provides support, tools and resources to state leadership related to the implementation of the Produce Safety Rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  NASDA plays a leadership role with the states, working to assist them in developing produce safety programs that meet the unique needs of each state, while remaining aligned and consistent nationally.

NASDA's National Consortium Meeting

  • The recently held NASDA National Consortium Meeting discussed information and approaches to a committed effort to food safety as state, federal, and educational collaborators work together to implement the Produce Safety Rule.  Regulatory officials from 42 grantee states and 5 additional states, FDA staff, and Extension and other partners participated in the meeting (200 total people) and shared information and best practices that may be applicable to different states and different regions.

Meeting Summary Webinar Information

  •  The NECAFS March webinar summarized the information discussed during the National Consortium Meeting.  Presenters included:

        Abbey Willard, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
        Cindy Martel, West Virginia Department of Agriculture
        Justine Beaulieu, University of Maryland
        Michael Botelho, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources


NECAFS/NEASDA Annual Meeting Summary Webinar, Recorded February 24th, 2017

This webinar provided a summary of the joint NECAFS/NEASDA annual meeting held on Jan. 10th in Boston. The goals for the presentation were to:

  •     reinforced what was discussed for those in attendance;
  •     answer questions anyone had after taking time to reflect on the meeting;
  •     provided information to those there were not in attendance; and
  •     articulated action items coming out of the meeting.


Food Hubs and Food Safety Webinar, Recorded November 18th, 2016

This webinar featured food hub presenters from across the region who discussed what actions they are taking to address food safety within their operations.  The presenters described their specific food hub operations, general food safety challenges, planned changes and successes.

Provided here is the full powerpoint presentaion from the webinar.

PDF icon Food Hubs and Food Safety Presentation

If you're interested in conecting with one of the presenters, here is a summary of their contact information:

PDF icon Contact Information for Webinar Presenters

Regional Food Safety Roundtable Webinar, Recorded October 14th, 2016

This webinar featured short presentations that provided an overview of food safety projects in the region.  The presenters quickly provided an overview of their projects, the needs and importance of those projects and their contact information so that others can get in touch with questions, resource sharing or other collaboration ideas.

Provided here is the full powerpoint presentaion from the webinar.  This highlights each of the food saftey project discussed.

File Regional Roundtable Powerpoint Presentation

If you're interested in conecting with one of the presenters, here is a summary of their contact information:

File Contact Information for Webinar Presenters