Food Safety Training Available to Home Sellers and Farmers Markets. KWBG AM1590 & 101.5 FM | Boone, Iowa

Food Safety Training Available to Home Sellers and Farmers Markets. KWBG AM1590 & 101.5 FM | Boone, Iowa

AMES, Iowa – Selling food to the public is a huge responsibility. Several state and federal laws exist to keep the public safe and assure you of following important food safety protocols.

However, navigating all the dos and don’ts can be a challenge. Depending on exactly what is being sold, and by how much, many Iowa food vendors may be exempt from state licensing and federal requirements. But it is still wise to know the requirements and best practices.

Since joining Iowa State University Extension & Outreach in 2015, Shannon Coleman has worked diligently to help educate and train the Iowans who sell food to the public what they need to know.

Coleman, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition and extension anthropology specialist at Iowa State University, said, “Iowa has a lot of information about what can and cannot be sold at farmers’ markets and to the public without a license. I have very specific rules.” “Sometimes the manufacturer or food vendor just needs some basic guidance.”

new programming

In 2017, he worked with graduate student Leah (Gilman) Rivers in developing fact sheets and personal training, which helped instruct food vendors about rules, but Coleman quickly found that more convenient education was needed. Was.

Coleman described the pilot in-person offering as “an early negotiation with the industry.” There was only standing room everywhere. We actually had a waiting list of people who wanted to participate.”

In 2019, working with graduate student Tara Teiman, Coleman developed a pilot program offering online food safety training related to Iowa law, based on exempt home food operators and home bakeries. This is known as the “Home-Based Food Operator: Regulations and Food Safety Course”.

Voluntary courses have since been offered and are today available online for $35 every day of the year or in person. The curriculum includes six modules related to home-based food vendors and bakeries in Iowa.

Courses cover Iowa policies and regulations, food safety basics, foodborne pathogens, foods that require and do not require temperature control, and safe production and preparation practices. Online courses are available in Moodle, an online learning management system.

All documents and curriculum will be updated this year to match the new regulations being developed in Iowa.

state partner

Coleman works closely with the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals to ensure that the curriculum is current and applicable.

Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals Inspector Kurt Ruber said it was a pleasure to work with Coleman and other members of the Iowa State Food Safety Team.

“She has been at the tip of the spear, helping not only manufacturers and industry, but students as well,” Ruber said. “It’s a team effort and I’m glad we have such a close relationship.”

As an adjunct professor, Coleman teaches students about food science and food safety in the laboratory, and through her extension work, she provides continuing education to industry. She is a regular voice at the annual Iowa Farmers Market Association convention in February, and her fact sheets and publications can be found at farmers markets in Iowa.

In addition to the Home Based Food Operators Course, Coleman also helps conduct in-person Produce Safety Alliance training, which explains the requirements of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act. For $20, participants get an update on FSMA and what they need to do to comply.

Donna Brahms, former president of the Iowa Farmers Market Association, said Coleman’s efforts have gone a long way toward educating small-scale producers and food vendors.

“Shannon is a really good example of how people need this,” said Brahms, who operates 3 Bee Farms with her family in southwest Iowa. “The training Shannon provides are very essential to what we do and I’ve had them myself.”

to be active

Brahms sells at six farmers’ markets a week, and said vendors need to educate themselves if they are going to sell a food product. Even if the product is exempt from the license requirement, Brahms said it’s still a good idea to take training and learn best practices for handling foods.

Prevention is the key, and Coleman’s training helps arms vendors with the knowledge they need to prevent food safety issues.

“If you know what you need to do in advance, you can prevent yourself from selling unsafe foods,” Coleman said.

He enjoys teaching food vendors what they need to know, and watching them adopt food safety practices they may not have thought of before.

“I love watching ‘aha moment,'” Coleman said. “You can do an instruction here in class, but when you do an interactive activity and you see they really connect the dots, that’s the most rewarding part.”

A complete list of food safety training opportunities and standard operating procedures is available at the ISU Extension and Outreach Anthropology website. Participants can register for food safety training on the same website.

Additional food safety resources for Iowa are also available at the Iowa Food Protection Task Force.

To learn more about programs at Iowa State, Coleman can be contacted at 515-294-9011 or [email protected]

Variety of Jams at the Farmers Market by Jolyn/stock.adobe.com.

(Contributed Press Release, ISUANR)

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