Ala. Extension System offers food safety training to farmers ma - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Ala. Extension System offers food safety training to farmers markets

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To help farmers markets everywhere, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System Food Safety Team has teamed up with the University of Georgia and is offering safe food handling training to farmers who sell their products at markets, with the ultimate goal of preventing outbreaks of food borne illness.

"This program teaches you how to even take the food from the farm, how to raise it safer, make sure people know how to handle it properly as it comes out of the field. That you don't put it in the back of a truck, that you've had your dog, you clean it up," explains Alabama Extension Specialist and Auburn University Professor, Dr. Jean Weese.

Growers are also advised not to display fruits and vegetables on unsanitary surfaces or to slice them with pocket knives. The training emphasizes the importance of using cutting boards and utensils instead.

"We want to make sure it's safe as possible so we don't have any issues with farmers markets in the state of Alabama. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound a cure," says Weese.

Weese says there have not been any issues with farmers markets yet in the Alabama, mainly because people don't report it.

"They may think it was from another food that they ate or even an upset stomach, so we're trying to ward off any possible thing that may happen."

The team already has completed 34 sessions of training in 32 counties, reaching 345 participants.

More information about the training is available by contacting a county Extension office or by contacting a member of the Food Safety Team through this website

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