WEBB CITY, MO.--- Regional farmers gather in Webb City to learn the best practices for food safety. Food safety is a top priority, starting with the farmers who produce it, going all the way to the buyers. One of the nation's top food safety trainers taught local farmers what steps they can take to ensure your produce is okay to eat. Food safety is a practice that the Webb City Farmer's Market takes very seriously.
"I think we're probably the first market in the country that requires food safety training before a farmer can sell at the market," said Eileen Nichols, Webb City Farmers Market.
Eileen Nichols says implementing food safety practices is a top priority for not just their market, but also for buyers and sellers across the country. Today, dozens of farmers were in Webb City for a two day "Regional Food Safety on the Farm" conference.
"This is something that farmers in the Midwest take very seriously," said Nichols.
It focused on good agricultural practices and how to develop a food safety plan.
"We understand that if you have one thing that happens, if you have one food-bourne illness, then it's not very good for your farm, for your business," said Nashon Bishop, Lincoln University Cooperative Executive.
The nation's top food safety trainer, Dr. Betsy Bihn and her colleague Gretchen Wall of Cornell University, led the courses.
"There's risks associated with growing fruits and vegetables. We grow them in fields, under open skies. So, we'll never be able to get to zero risks, but there are a lot of practices you can do to reduce the risk at the farm level," said Dr. Elizabeth "Betsy" Bihn, Food Safety Trainer.
She says food safety begins at the farm, and that's why it's important to understand how to keep food safe.
"Any incident of food safety, contamination, can literally make them lose the farm. So we want to keep that one incident from ever happening," said Dr. Bihn.
Dr. Bihn says the FDA is proposing a produce rule to the food safety law that would apply to fresh produce grown at farms. The Lincoln University Extension provided funding for and hosted the conference along with the Webb City Farmer's Market.
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