COS Training Resource Center awarded specialty crop grant
TULARE – About 48 million people in the U.S. (1 in 6) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a significant public health burden that is largely preventable.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is transforming the nation’s food safety system by shifting the focus from responding to foodborne illness to preventing it. Congress enacted FSMA in response to dramatic changes in the global food system and in our understanding of foodborne illness and its consequences, including the realization that preventable foodborne illness is both a significant public health problem and a threat to the economic well-being of the food system.
Last week, the College of the Sequoias Training Resource Center was awarded a grant to support California’s Central Valley specialty crop industry by providing affordable food safety training. This training will start in 2019 and continue into 2020. The majority of the training will take place at the COS Tulare College Center. Depending on the training course, the fee will be just $30-$60 for Specialty Crop Industry members. The training will include FSMA-related training such as Produce Safety Rule Grower training, GAP training, HACCP, Preventive Controls for Human Foods and Foreign Supplier Verification Program.
As a member of the Specialty Crop industry, Carolina Reyes from Magnolia Citrus supports this project by COS. “We have sent our employees to food safety trainings through the Training Resource Center in the past, and enjoy the fact that the trainings are local, and certified with industry-recognized credentials. They employ subject matter experts who have practical experience and can provide great examples to the class. They have updated facilities and it’s always comfortable in their training rooms.”
Xochitl Agundez from Four Star Fruit agrees: “It is a federal requirement that my company becomes certified in the various food safety rules. The requirements can be difficult to comply with for companies in my industry. It will be great to have the opportunity to send our employees to training that is local and priced well in order to ensure our compliance.”
The local specialty crop industry has difficulty attending food safety courses as these trainings are offered in larger cities and require out of town travel that is costly and disruptive to business operations. College of the Sequoias has experience delivering value-added, local, convenient, and affordable FSMA and food safety related training. The project’s aim is to reach the local specialty crop industry including the workforce on farms, packing houses, and in food processing plants.
To find out more about this grant or to see a list of upcoming classes, please visit the COS Training Resource Center web site at www.cos.edu/trainingcenter. You can also email the Training Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.