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Just the Facts Please: Farm to School Food Safety & What FOOD SERVICE DIRECTORS Need to Know
Transcript of Just the Facts Please: Farm to School Food Safety & What FOOD SERVICE DIRECTORS Need to Know
Ensuring Safe Food in Colorado Farm to School Programs - What School Food Service Directors Need to Know
Federal Policy & Regulations
The Food Safety Environment
Food Safety Issues of Concern
Food Service Directors:
So you want to buy locally grown?
State Policy, Regulations & Guidance
A Guide from the Colorado Farm to School Task Force, Colorado Foundation for Public Health and Environment, and
Spark Policy Institute
Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA)
Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Prevention Controls (HARPCs)
Current Federal Food Safety Guidance
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
Good Agricultural Practices/Good Handling Practices (GAP/GHP)
FDA Guidance Documents
Colorado Revised Statutes
Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA)
Colorado Department of Education (CDE)
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
Colorado State University Extension (CSU Extension)
Colorado School of Public Health
Local Regulations and Guidance
Local Public Health
Federal rulemaking is always required, but federal guidance is optional. However, certain states or industries may require you to implement the standards set forth in federal guidance as part of your food safety program.
State Agencies & Resources
Colorado Revised Statutes:
State & Local Government website links
National School Lunch Act of 1946
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
National School Lunch Program
The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (79 P.L. 396, 60 Stat. 230) created the National School Lunch Program in 1946 to provide low-cost or free school lunch meals to qualified students through subsidies to schools.
For information on the history, eligibility, reports, see the USDA Food and Nutrition Service NSLP website
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 allows USDA, for the first time in over 30 years, opportunity to make real reforms to the school lunch and breakfast programs by improving the critical nutrition and hunger safety net for millions of children.
Healthy Farms, Healthy People Coalition
Partnering for a healthier food system
igniting public policy and community change
This project is part of a series funded by the Healthy Farms, Healthy People Coalition through a CDC cooperative agreement administered by the National Network of Public Health Institutes. ChangeLab Solutions provided technical assistance for the series. The views and opinions of these authors and organizations are not necessarily those of CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The Colorado Farm to School Task Force with Spark Policy Institute and the Colorado Foundation for Public Health and the Environment has produced a comprehensive review and analysis of the statutory and regulatory structure of agricultural policies as they relate to farm to school, with a specific focus on the interconnectedness of food safety laws, regulations, & guidance at the federal, state, and local levels.
At-the-School Food Safety Issues
Most schools want to procure locally but are concerned about food safety.
Food service directors will need to take on the task of requiring a producer has food safety plan and work directly with a producer to develop it.
Safe transportation practices
Preparation of foods
Serving food in the cafeteria
Adequate facilities and equipment
Regulatory Environment - FSDs
Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Guidance
Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Guide
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) Guide
Fresh-Cut Produce Guide
Tomato Safety Guide
Melon Safety Guide
Leafy Greens Guide
Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point Principles (HACCP)
What you should know:
USDA Food Safety Guidance for SFAs
USDA HACCP Guidance for School Food Authorities
This document serves as USDA guidance for the implementation of HACCP food safety programs in schools participating in the NSLP or the School Breakfast Program (SBP). This guidance identifies the minimum elements that must be included in a food safety program based on HACCP principles. SFAs may use this guidance to develop a food safety program that meets the needs of each food production and food service facility in their jurisdiction.
USDA: Handling Fresh Produce in Schools
This very accessible four page document summarizes best practices that food service staff can take to minimize contamination of fruits and vegetables that they handle. It also includes recommendations for specific types of fruit: melons, tomatoes, leafy greens, and sprouts. The identified best practices are based on FDA Guidance documents, USDA handbooks, and industry guidance.
FDA Guidance Documents
This 1998 guide sets the standards for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP).
It addresses the microbial food safety hazards and good agricultural and management practices common to the growing, harvesting, washing, sorting, packing, and transporting of most fruits and vegetables sold to consumers in an unprocessed or minimally processed (raw) form.
It covers fresh-cut fruits and vegetables that have been minimally processed (e.g., no lethal kill step), and altered in form, by peeling, slicing, chopping, shredding, coring, or trimming, with or without washing or other treatment, prior to being packaged for use by the consumer or a retail establishment.
Just the Facts Please: A Guide to Food Safety & Farm to School for School Food Service Directors
What School Food Service Directors (FSDs) Need to Know
To read more and link to additional resources, see the brief:
Four products support this work and are available on the Colorado Farm to School website at
1. A comprehensive analysis of food safety in farm to school programming as it moves through the food chain. The report
Farm to School Food Safety: A Review of Agricultural Policies & Practices
is for policy makers, state agencies, school food service directors, and universities involved in agricultural food safety as it relates to farm to school programs.
2. A quick reference guide on Colorado government’s roles in food safety,
Whose Role is It? Colorado State and Local Agency Roles in Farm to School Food Safety.
3. Two briefs called
Just the Facts Please.
The nitty-gritty briefs provide targeted guidance for producers and schools.
Just the Facts Please: Ensuring Safe Food in Colorado Farm to School Programs interactive presentations
of the agricultural policies affecting food safety related to school food procurement from the federal to state to county level. The Prezi presentations are customized for each audience and include hyperlinks to relevant laws, reports, trainings, templates, and examples.
School food services play a vital role in providing nutritious meals and snacks to Colorado’s children. Farm to School programs are an important way for schools to procure high quality, nutrient-dense, fresh produce and sustainably-raised meats.
FSDs Role in On-the-Farm Food Safety
Small and mid-size producers are most likely to be your source of locally-grown produce
Typically sell to direct markets that do not require food safety plans like Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) or Good Handling Practices (GHP)
Most are informally implementing GAP/GHP but need to document it
Colorado FSDs work directly with producers to help design GAP/GHP plans that meet both the producer's abilities and the school's needs
Resources for Schools Food Services
National School Lunch Act (NSLA) requires School Food Authorities (SFAs) to implement a food safety program at all food preparation and service facilities.
Must be based on HACCP system and include:
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Defined critical control points
Analysis of potential hazards
Corrective action procedures
USDA Storing Fresh Produce
This one page summary and graphic shows where different types of fruit and produce should be stored within a walk-in refrigerator in order to maximize produce integrity and extend storage life.
USDA Ensuring Traceability of Fresh Produce
This three page guide lays out the responsibilities school nutrition programs have when purchasing fresh produce, whether local or not. It also includes the responsibilities of distributors and farmers.
USDA Verifying On-Farm Food Safety
This four page guide provides food service directors with steps involved in visiting and assessing a local farm.
FDA GAPs Guide
FDA Fresh-Cut Guide
This 2008 guide is intended for all fresh-cut produce processing operations to enhance the safety of fresh-cut produce by minimizing the microbial food safety hazards. Processing fresh produce into fresh-cut products increases the risk of bacterial growth and contamination by breaking the natural exterior barrier of the produce. The processing of fresh produce without proper sanitation procedures in the processing environment increases the potential for contamination by pathogens.
FDA Guide to Leafy Green Safety
This 2009 guide recommends practices to minimize the microbial food safety hazards throughout the entire leafy greens supply chain. It identifies some, but not all, of the preventive measures to minimize the food safety hazards. The guidance covers leafy greens that are grown, harvested, and then packed or cooled for fresh market or for "fresh-cut/value-added processing" (i.e., minimally processed, such as chopped or shredded, moved through a series of washes, and then bagged or pre-packaged), shipped to food service or retail establishments and offered for sale to the consumer.
FDA Guide to Melon Safety
This 2009 guide recommends practices to minimize the microbial food safety hazards throughout the entire melon supply chain. The use of the term "melons" in this document refers to cantaloupe (also known as muskmelons), honeydew, watermelon, and variety melons (e.g., "Canary," "Crenshaw," and "Galia"), both as raw agricultural commodities and the value-added fresh-cut products derived from them.
FDA Guide to Tomato Safety
This 2009 guide recommends practices to minimize the microbial food safety hazards throughout the entire tomato supply chain, from farm to distribution to retail preparation. The use of the term "tomatoes" in this document includes raw agricultural commodities and fresh-cut/value-added products unless otherwise specified.
State of Colorado Regulations
CDPHE Retail Food Establishment Rules & Regs
This lengthy document is the most recent rules and regulations established by the state of Colorado to oversee retail food establishments. School kitchens are regulated and licensed under this Act.
CDPHE RFE for Tomatoes
This memo further defines the Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations with respect to cut tomatoes, defining them as a “potentially hazardous food” and setting forth mandatory temperature storage requirements.
Food Storage for Safety & Quality
This fact sheet from CSU Extension provides guidance on fresh and frozen food storage timelines for all types of products. Created for households, it is still a useful quick guide for institutional food services.
Guide to Washing Fresh Produce
This fact sheet from CSU Extension provides guidance on how to wash fresh produce to remove potential contaminants, including bacteria, fungi and other microbes along with trace chemicals. Created for the home cook, the guidance is equally applicable to institutional and retail food services.
Toolkits and Forms
Food Safety Documents & Guidance
A one-stop website at the Colorado Department of Education to access federal HACCP guidance, SOPs, and forms as well as best practice resources and webinars for produce safety and developing a food safety program.
2012 Colorado School Nutrition Association Fall Conference Workshop Materials
Download a variety of the most up-to-date information on HACCP as well as produce safety presentations and guidance.
Checklist for Purchasing of Local Produce
This two page checklist provides clear guidance on what a food service director needs to discuss with a farmer and see on a farm visit.
HACCP - Making Food Products Safe
This 15 minute video introduces the seven principles of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point standard and how it is used by processors for maintaining the safety of food products.
HACCP and Other Food Principles
This Prezi presentation walks through the HACCP principles and key human pathogens that are found in food.
Colorado School Nutrition Association
Webinar Wednesdays Series
The series covers all things school food service-related, including food safety,
Peer2Peer Connect Q&As
This conference call series is available for SNA members and non-members to connect and share resources, ideas and strategies on topics affecting school nutrition programs.
The National Restaurant Association has two online food safety trainings that are used by many Colorado school districts to train staff:
The ServSafe® program provides food safety training, exams and educational materials to foodservice managers. The program blends the latest FDA Food Code, food safety research and years of food sanitation training experience. Managers learn to implement essential food safety practices and create a culture of food safety.
Food Handler Training
The ServSafe® Food Handler Program cover five sections: Basic Food Safety, Personal Hygiene, Cross-contamination and Allergens, Time and Temperature, and Cleaning and Sanitation.
USDA Produce Safety University
Produce Safety University is a joint initiative of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). FNS covers contracting, writing specifications, and safe handling; AMS addresses the importance of grading, storing, and working with farmers. Archived materials can be accessed at
From the 2nd Annual Connecting Local Farms & Schools Conference, 2012