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DATCP to start inspecting produce Wisconsin farms this year

Staff Writer |
Through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will begin inspecting produce farms for compliance with federal food safety regulations this year.

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The inspections are part of the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule to better protect public health by focusing food safety efforts on prevention of foodborne illnesses.

“Implementing the Produce Safety Rule for Wisconsin has required additional resources, training, and education for our staff and the industry,” said Shawn Bartholomew, DATCP Produce Safety Supervisor.

“Starting these inspections will be a major milestone as Wisconsin’s fresh fruit and vegetable industry align with nationwide food safety requirements.”

While inspections for large produce farms will begin this year, inspections for smaller produce farms will start in 2020.

The FDA defines the size of a produce farm based on the following annual food sales revenue:

- Large produce farm: More than $500,000
- Small produce farm: $250,000-$500,000
- Very small produce farm: $25,000-$250,000

Throughout the implementation, DATCP will continue to provide education and training to help produce growers implement nationally standardized food safety practices.

In partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Extension, produce growers can prepare their farm for inspections by participating in produce safety training. The training is required for fresh produce growers who must meet the federal produce safety rules.

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