Workshop on TRACEABILITY for Michigan fruit growers

Learn how to comply with the new traceability requirements covering the entire food production chain

The enactment of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in January 2011 requires that all food producers/handlers conduct a hazard analysis to identify potential risks and implement a TRACEABILITY program through all the food production process.

Fruit growers that want to be in compliance with the FSMA once it is fully enacted must be able to demonstrate that they are implementing Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) to prevent or mitigate identified food safety risks, and to be able to rapidly identify and isolate any source of the contamination. Growers will need to implement a traceability system that is consistent, speedy, and covers the entire production chain.

Food traceability relies on record keeping procedures, or tracing systems, that record the path of fruits and vegetables from the farm through all processing stages until it reaches the consumer. In a large farm this may even include field row and crew information for the harvested fruit.

A traceability system allows the fruit industry to:

  • Promptly locate and remove unsafe products in case of a recall.
  • Protect farm or brand reputation as keeping precise records allows companies to quickly identify and recall only unsafe products, reducing the scope of a recall.
  • Minimize the size of a recall and reduce the cost incurred in recovering or disposing of products in the marketplace.

In January 2011, the Institute of Food Technology (IFT) held a forum in Washington, DC to discuss the implications of the new food safety legislation. The event focused on product traceability, third-party certification, and preventive control plans. Among the forum final recommendations was the encouragement for food producers and industry to participate in the implementation of the FSMA and see traceability as a food safety tool, not as a burden (View newsletter with in-depth information from the forum).

Workshop details – register by April 20

In an effort to keep the fruit industry updated on the latest requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Michigan State University Extension and the AgBioResearch will offer a workshop on TRACEABILITY. The workshop will be held on Friday, April 22 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Michigan State University Trevor Nichols Research Complex in Fennville, Michigan. Topics that will be discussed deal with the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) and different tracking systems available for small and medium-size farm operations. The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) have set 2012 as the deadline for tracking every case of produce, electronic handling of case-level Global Trade Item Numbers featuring information on grower, ranch, pack date and lot number.

Guest speakers will include growers who have developed their own traceability programs for their farm operations. Also, private software companies will explain how their traceability programs work (see attached brochure).

This workshop would be most beneficial to small or medium-size fruit growers as well as all other fruit growers that want to comply with the GAP certification.

Registration begins at 8:30 AM and the price is $75 for the first attendee per company and $50 per each additional attendee from the same company. For registration contact Judy Hanson at (616) 994-4548 or For more information, contact Dr. Anamaria Gomez at (269) 561-5040 at the TRNC. Lunch will be provided with a vegetarian option available. The due date for registration is Wednesday April 20.

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