()2/04/16) OAK GROVE, La. – The LSU AgCenter will host a workshop on March 2-3 in Oak Grove to educate produce growers, packers and processors about GroupGAP, a new food safety certification program.
Good Agricultural Practices, or GAPs, are voluntary practices that growers can implement to reduce food safety risks. Growers who pass a GAPs audit receive certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which many stores and other fresh produce buyers now require.
“GroupGAP will increase opportunities for small producers to get GAP certification,” said AgCenter food safety specialist Achyut Adhikari. “Under the program, an entire group of growers can be certified, potentially saving them money and time.”
The GroupGAP program, which goes into effect in April, will help retailers and buyers meet the increasing consumer demand for local food while maintaining strong food safety standards, Adhikari said.
“More small and mid-sized farmers can demonstrate that they have met retailer food safety requirements for ‘buy local’ programs,” he said.
Attendees will have a chance to work on their own farm food safety plans.
Speakers will include specialists from the LSU and Southern University agricultural centers, the USDA, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and Robertson Produce Inc.
The seminar will be held at the Thomas Jason Lingo Community Center from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 2 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 3.
Attendees will receive a certificate of attendance of a GAPs and GHPs workshop. They will also be eligible on a first-come, first-served basis for a cost reimbursement program for up $1,000 of auditing fees associated with GAPs certification.
For more information, contact Adhikari at 225-578-2529 or by email.Olivia McClure
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