The California Department of Agriculture is committed to educating California produce farmers on how to follow the Produce Safety Rule and is working to make sure that produce farmers understand the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule by providing a host of resources.
Under the Produce Safety Rule, every produce farm must have an individual employed who has completed an FDA-approved Produce Safety Rule Grower Training, or equivalent course. In addition, all personnel engaged in the supervision of personnel who handle (contact) covered produce or food contact surfaces must receive training as specified in the Rule.
This course provides training to ensure a responsible party employed by the farm understands required food safety practices, can train other employees, and can recognize conditions that could lead to contamination of covered produce and take appropriate action to correct those conditions.
The Produce Safety Rule Grower Training need only be taken once; however, the certificate of completion belongs to the individual and not the farm.
California Produce Safety Program inspectors will ask to see your designated food safety employee’s certificate as part of your on-farm inspection.
Frequently Asked Questions:
About the Training Program
For farms covered by the Produce Safety Rule, the Grower Training Course developed by the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) is adequate as the standardized curriculum.
FDA recently released draft guidance on selecting alternate criteria for the Grower Training course. The purpose of this guidance is to provide recommendations on the factors that covered farms should consider if they are selecting an alternate curriculum training to meet the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule, and that educators should consider when developing or evaluating alternate curricula. For more information, please visit FDA’s website:
How to Find an approved Grower Training Course
The Produce Safety Alliance maintains a website which lists all available Produce Safety Training Courses.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has received funding from the FDA to provide Produce Safety Rule Grower Training courses at a reduced rate. A list of subsidized courses currently being offered in California through two different training firms is available here.
CDFA Subsidized Training
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has received funding from the FDA to provide Produce Safety Rule Grower Training courses at a reduced rate.
Ongoing Training for Farm Employees
In addition to the required Grower Training certificate, all produce farms must show documentation of ongoing food safety training of farm employees.
Resources for training farm employees will be posted at a later date.
External Food Safety Links
- Produce Safety Alliance Cornell University
- Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety
- Northeastern Center to Enhance Food Safety
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Information on the Agricultural Water Provisions
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to extend, for covered produce other than sprouts, the dates for compliance with the agricultural water provisions in the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption rule. FDA is proposing to extend the compliance dates to address questions about the practical implementation of compliance with certain provisions and to consider how FDA might further reduce the regulatory burden or increase flexibility while continuing to achieve our regulatory objectives, in keeping with the Administration's policies. For more information, please see the following:
Are you ready for a Produce Safety Inspection? Find out now! Produce Safety Rule regulatory inspections began for large farms in spring 2019. But CDFA offers non-regulatory On-Farm Readiness Reviews (OFRRs) for small and very small farms. These are designed to give farmers a better understanding of what they can expect from a routine Produce Safety Inspection. Please note that the PSA Grower Training is required before scheduling an OFRR, and it is preferable to schedule an OFRR during harvest periods. Please be prepared to provide the following information:
- Farm name and location
- A contact person and how to contact you
- What produce do you grow, harvest, pack, or cool?
- When are you harvesting?
- Have you completed the PSA Grower Training?