What is Happening Now


POSTED: December 2, 2014

There will be a meeting on the Food Safety audit process entitled The Reality of Food Safety Audit and Verification Programs on December 12, 2014 at the Miami-Dade Cooperative Extension building, 18710 SW 288 St., Homestead, FL 33030. This meeting will be presented in English from 10:00 am - 11:15 am and in Spanish at 1:00 - 2:15 pm. The same content will be presented at both meetings by Richard Yudin.
There is no charge for this meeting, but please RSVP to this email, tropicalfruitgrowers@gmail.com   to let me know that you will be attending.

The topics to be discussed are:

1 - Retailer and wholesaler demands for guarantees that that food safety protocols are in place and effective - all along the supply chain

2 - Brief case analysis of California Spinach and Colorado Cantaloupe outbreaks which had nationwide publicity, and bankrupted the growers - Florida tomato allegations would be too contentious. Underscoring that no produce business will take "good faith" claims on product safety any more and certification is a commercial necessity.

3 - Certification requirements: minimum is USDA Harmonized GAPs checklist, as offered by our state's  FDACS "Fresh from Florida," most of the talk will be based on this since it is affordable, relatively easy to implement, and available through the Extension network. I will also give brief descriptions of other more elaborate and expensive  commercial and NGO standards.

4 - Minimum requirements:
A - record keeping
B - hygiene facilities
C - secure storage
D - policy and procedures paperwork

If you have any questions, please contact me.
Thank you,
Louise

--

Louise E. King
Vice President
Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida, Inc.
18710 SW 288 St.
Homestead, FL 33030
Phone:
(305) 401-1502
Email:
tropicalfruitgrowers@gmail.com
Website:
www.tropicalfruitgrowers.com

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POSTED: November 21, 2014

Growers,
The comment period for the revisions to the Food Safety Modernization Act will end on December 15, 2014. Please make your concerns known by submitting your comments on this link:  http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0921-0973

Click on the link for an example of how to write a comment to submit. This document is written for organic growers, but may provide some guidance as you comment.
Thank you.

TFGSF

**********************************

POSTED:  November 20, 2014

Food Safety Modernization Act – 2014 

REPROPOSAL Farmer Commenting Guidance 

(Download Complete PDF - Click Here)

***********************************

POSTED: November 13, 2014


Growers,


There will be a meeting on the Food Safety audit process on December 12, 2014 at the Miami-Dade Cooperative Extension building, 18710 SW 288 St., Homestead, FL 33030. This meeting will be presented in English from 10:00 am - 11:15 am and in Spanish at 1:00 - 2:15 pm. The same content will  be presented at both meetings.

There is no charge for this meeting, but please RSVP to this email, tropicalfruitgrowers@gmail.com   to let me know that you will be attending.

The topics to be discussed are:

1 - Retailer and wholesaler demands for guarantees that that food safety protocols are in place and effective - all along the supply chain

2 - Brief case analysis of California Spinach and Colorado Cantaloupe outbreaks which had nationwide publicity, and bankrupted the growers - Florida tomato allegations would be too contentious. Underscoring that no produce business will take "good faith" claims on product safety any more and certification is a commercial necessity.

3 - Certification requirements: minimum is USDA Harmonized GAPs checklist, as offered by our state's  FDACS "Fresh from Florida," most of the talk will be based on this since it is affordable, relatively easy to implement, and available through the Extension network. I will also give brief descriptions of other more elaborate and expensive  commercial and NGO standards.

4 - Minimum requirements:
A - record keeping
B - hygiene facilities
C - secure storage
D - policy and procedures paperwork

If you have any questions, please contact me.
Thank you,

Louise

-- 
Louise E. King
Vice President
Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida, Inc.
18710 SW 288 St. 
Homestead, FL 33030
Phone: (305) 401-1502
Email: tropicalfruitgrowers@gmail.com
Website: www.tropicalfruitgrowers.com

**************************************
POSTED: April 10, 2014

We apologize but we have had to cancel the April 17 Food Safety class in Spanish. We have re-scheduled the class to April 28, 9am - 12 noon.  If you cannot attend this class, there are two other dates for Spanish Food Safety classes.

Wed., April 23, 6;00 - 9:00 pm, Spanish
Thurs., April 24, 1:00 - 4:00 pm, Spanish
Mon.,  April 28, 9:00 am - 12:00 noon, Spanish

***************************

There are still two English Food Safety classes available:
Thurs, April. 10. 6:00 - 9:00 pm, English
Thurs, April. 24, 9:00 - 12:00 noon, English

All classes will be held at Miami-Dade County Cooperative Extension, located at 18710 SW 288 St., Homestead, FL 33030.

To reserve a place and a set of manuals in these FREE workshops: Call - (305) 401-1502 OR, Email - tropicalfruitgrowers@gmail.com


March 27, 2014
Dear Growers, 
The Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida, Inc., the University of Florida’s Tropical Research and Education Center, and Miami-Dade County’s Cooperative Extension will be holding workshops to help growers write their own Food Safety plan for their farming businesses. At the workshops, growers will receive a copy of the tropical fruit Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Harvesting Practices (GHP) manuals that have been developed for south Florida, and Dr. Jonathan Crane will work along with growers to get them started on writing their own Food Safety plan.

So that we can accommodate as many growers as possible, there will be six classes offered. Each class will cover the same material, so you need only to attend one class to get the information. Three classes will be held in English and three in Spanish. The dates and times of the classes are:

English
April 3, 9:00 am -12:00 pm
April 10, 6:00 - 9:00 pm
April 24, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Spanish
April 17, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
April 23, 6:00 - 9:00 pm
April 24, 1:00 - 4:00 pm

All classes will be held at Miami-Dade County Cooperative Extension, located at 18710 SW 288 St., Homestead, FL 33030.

To reserve a place and a set of manuals in these FREE workshops: Call - (305) 401-1502 OR, Email - tropicalfruitgrowers@gmail.com

September 2, 2013
Dear Growers,
Here is one final reminder to submit your comments on the new Food Safety Modernization Act to the USDA. The regulations that will govern the implementation of the new Food Safety Modernization Act have not yet been finalized, and the USDA is still accepting comments from the public regarding this legislation until November 15, 2013


The more of us that voice our concerns, the more likely our thoughts will be incorporated into the regulations.  


TFGSF President Steve Green has already submitted his comments on-line, and has found it is not difficult.  Go to the following website, scroll down to the "Commenting:" bold heading, and then click on "Comment on the Proposed Rule... ". Write your comments in the space provided.


http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm334114.htm

At the meetings, many participants voiced concerns on some of the same issues.  For those of you that were unable to attend the meetings, a few of the issues that were brought up by growers most frequently are listed below.  If any of these issues concern you, you may want to include your comments on them along with any other issues you have.

a) we cannot possibly exclude lizards or prevent birds from roosting in our trees (and potentially defecating on fruit)  This soiled fruit could be washed.


b) many groves are on homesteads where there are watch dogs that have access to the groves.


c) fruit should be marketable even if they've fallen to the ground because some fruits (such as passion fruit and some varieties of mangoes) ripen only if they fall to the ground.


d)  all inspectors approved by the Federal government to certify groves must be recognized and accepted by all buyers so that growers are not forced to pay exorbitant fees to specific private companies. 




One again this is our last chance to have input on these regulations that have a significant impact on our businesses.  Please voice your concerns, now! 


Thank you.

-- 

Louise E. King
Vice President
Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida, Inc.
18710 SW 288 St.
Homestead, FL 33030
Phone: (305) 401-1502
Email: tropicalfruitgrowers@gmail.com
Website: www.tropicalfruitgrowers.com




July 24, 2013
For those of you who wish to attend a meeting to voice and discuss your comments on the manual for tropical fruits IN SPANISH, we have scheduled a meeting for:
 Wednesday, July 24, 2013 from 9:00 -12:00 noon
 at Miami-Dade Cooperative Extension
18710 SW 288 St. Homestead, FL 33031.

This meeting meeting will be held in Spanish.

If you are unable to attend this meeting and wish to make comments, please send your comments  to me at this email and I will present them at the meeting.

Please let me know via email that you will be attending this meeting on July 24 !
Thank you.

Louise

-- 
Louise E. King
Vice President
Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida, Inc.
18710 SW 288 St.
Homestead, FL 33030
Phone: (305) 401-1502
Email: tropicalfruitgrowers@gmail.com
Website: www.tropicalfruitgrowers.com


June 27, 2013

For those of you who wish to attend a meeting to voice and discuss your comments on the manual, we have scheduled a meeting for:


 Thursday, June 27, 2013 from 9:00 -12:00 noon
 at Miami-Dade Cooperative Extension
18710 SW 288 St. Homestead, FL 33031.
This meeting meeting will be held in English. We have scheduled the same meeting to be given in Spanish in late July. I will send out the details and attachments in Spanish in the next week.

If you are unable to attend this meeting and wish to make comments, please send your comments  to me at this email and I will present them at the meeting.

Please let me know via email that you will be attending this meeting on June 27 !
Thank you.

Louise


May 25th, 2013

On April 29, 2013, we held the first informational meetings at the Miami-Dade County Extension Service. Two presentations for tropical fruit producers and one for vegetable producers were conducted in English and another one for each group in Spanish.  The second one in English was not in the plans but was a response to the huge turnout, so large that we reached the Fire Marshall's posted limit for the room. Apologies to those of you who arrived just prior to that first meeting and found we were already filled.  We know that some of you were not able to attend the repeat presentation for tropical fruit producers that we quickly scheduled for an hour later;  we will modify our procedures for the remaining workshops so that you can reserve a spot in advance.  Thank you all for your patience during our leaning process and also for completing the questionnaires.

Handouts were distributed at those initial meetings and are all available in English and Spanish by clicking HERE.  We will also make available the Power Point presentations given by Dr. Jonathan Crane, and Dr. Mary Lamberts in English and Mr. Ruben Regalado in Spanish with accompanying audio.

The next step: We are firming up dates for the next set of meetings that will assist you in formulating farm-specfic plans.  Please check back to this site for updates and add you name to our email list to be sent these notices.