Diane Eggert, president of the Farmers' Market Federation of New York, is the point person for a recently submitted grant on food safety and food handling. The Harris Seeds Company will be supporting the process and will have an employee from our company joining the committee that will guide the direction of this program. In addition to Cornell University that has been at the educational forefront of this project, committee members will include direct market farmers, food safety inspectors, health department officials, and other industry associates.
Food borne illnesses associated with vegetable production can be devastating to agriculture. If such illnesses were to occur to the local direct vegetable marketers in New York, or any other state for that matter, the financial losses would be staggering. Consumer confidence in the grow local…sell fresh phenomenon that is sweeping the nation could come to a sudden halt, driving customers back to the chain stores in peak selling seasons. Being proactive and not reactive at this point makes perfectly good sense.
If this grant gets awarded this summer, The Food Safety Prevention for Farm Direct Marketing Project will study the project in depth and eventually bring these issues to direct marketers across the state with the assistance of Cooperative Extension. This process will ensure that direct market growers will deliver quality food that is safe for the consumer. As the project progresses this fall, we will provide you with timely updates.
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