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Safe produce handling workshop to be held on Feb. 21

Feb. 14, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

INSTITUTE -- West Virginia State University Extension Service, in cooperation with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, will offer a "Good Handling Practices/Good Agricultural Practices" training from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, in WVSU's Erickson Alumni Center in Institute.

The workshop was previously scheduled for January, but was cancelled due to inclement weather.

"As our food economy shifts its focus toward purchasing locally grown meats and produce, it is important that West Virginia producers be trained on how to handle the food to ensure a safe product is available for schools, restaurants and families," WVSU Extension Agent Brad Cochran said in a news release. "This is a great opportunity for producers to get a step ahead of the curve and be trained in GHP and GAP."

Dr. Robert Williams, a food safety and technology expert and professor at Virginia Tech, will lead the training, designed to be practical and give participants tools for immediate on-farm implementation. Roberts earned his Ph.D. in Food, Science and Technology from the University of Tennessee in 2001 and over the past four years has conducted programs for WVDA.

The GHP/GAP training is ideal for any West Virginia produce growers marketing food directly to the public or those seeking to become a Farm to School supplier. Increasingly stringent federal food safety standards could make GHP/GAP certification very valuable in the near future, Cochran said.

The workshop costs $25, which covers course materials. An independent lunch break is scheduled, during which participants may bring a packed lunch or choose from the dining options available on campus. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

To register, contact Brad Cochran at 304-541-3301 or bcochran2@wvstateu.edu.

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