AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach food safety team has produced a series of three videos to help fruit and vegetable growers understand and implement good agricultural practices (GAP).
The GAP videos are available online and replace the day-long Iowa Level 1 GAP program. However, face to face workshops for groups can still be scheduled upon request. The videos range from 25 to 50 minutes in length, are free and do not need to be watched in one sitting.
“We want to help growers be more aware of food safety risks, both during the growing season and after harvest,” said Angela Shaw, assistant professor and extension specialist in food safety at Iowa State University. “These trainings share best practices for keeping their food safe. Further, these videos can supplement online modules developed for those working with school and community gardens and farmers markets.”
The first video introduces viewers to GAPs while the second video discusses best practices for pre-harvest handling. The third video covers safe practices with post-harvest handling. Information is presented by Shaw and Catherine Strohbehn, professor and extension specialist in human sciences with ISU Extension and Outreach. Both are members of the ISU Extension and Outreach on-farm food safety team.
As a result of watching the videos, producers should have increased knowledge of on-farm hazards, have a fundamental understanding of food microbiology and an increased awareness of food regulations for light processing and selling of fresh produce.
While the Level 1 GAP training has moved to an online format, Levels 2 and 3 remain in-person classes.
“Those higher level GAP trainings will never be online,” Shaw said. “They require additional guidance and the need to have an expert present to answer questions. That required level of interaction will ensure they remain in-person programs.”
More information about all three levels of GAP training, as well as other programs offered by the ISU Extension and Outreach food safety team can be found through their website, www.safeproduce.cals.iastate.edu.