Canadian Horticultural Council to release on-farm food safety training kit for fresh fruit and vegetable farmers

    OTTAWA, Dec. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC), a
national, not-for-profit industry association, is set to release an on-farm
food safety (OFFS) training resource kit for fresh fruit and vegetable farmers
this month.
    Since the late 1990s, the CHC has been taking a proactive approach to
food safety on the farm by developing a national on-farm food safety program
for Canadian producers and packers of horticultural products. In order to
reassure buyers and maintain a high level of consumer confidence in Canadian
produce, the CHC has been working with the industry to develop eight
commodity-specific OFFS Manuals for use by producers and packers.
    The OFFS program is intended to bring into focus the potential sources of
microbiological, chemical and physical hazards for produce from field through
shipping point. Through CHC, industry has been at the forefront in developing
a scientifically sound program that will meet consumer and buyer needs, while
remaining cost-effective and realistic for producers and packers. The
technical documents are vetted by a government review team as part of the
Canadian On-Farm Food Safety Recognition Program.
    The new training kit consists of hand washing signage, informational
brochures, frequently asked questions, a CD-ROM, etc. "It's an excellent
resource for producers and packers to use to train their employees in food
safety and work through the CHC On-Farm Food Safety (OFFS) Manuals," said CHC
Executive Vice-President Anne Fowlie. "It highlights the five Good
Agricultural Practices (GAPs) which are the cornerstones of on-farm food
safety, and also provides supplementary information to help assess and manage
on-farm food safety hazards."
    The training kit will be distributed to all members of the CHC. Public
access to the materials will also be available on a cost-recovered basis.
    To encourage program uptake and implementation of the new training tools,
the CHC facilitated a "Train-the-Trainer" pilot session in Ottawa in November,
designed for potential on-farm food safety trainers from the industry who
wanted to further enhance their knowledge of the CHC OFFS program. The
three-day workshop instructed participants on how to deliver an OFFS training
session to producers and packers. Twenty-five provincial representatives from
across the country took part.
    The CHC gratefully acknowledges the support of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada, which has provided funding for the development of the CHC On-Farm Food
Safety program under the Agricultural Policy Framework, a
federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
    For more information visit the CHC website at

For further information:

For further information: Heather Gale, Food Safety Coordinator, Canadian
Horticultural Council, (613) 226-4880, (ext. 214), F. (613) 226-4497,

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