Developing an active-learning outreach program to support small and very-small dried fruit processors’ food safety management

Added by Yaohua Feng • Last updated June 3, 2024
Author: Yaohua Feng
Type: Project (Food Safety Outreach Program - FSOP)

Outbreaks associated dried produce implicate that processors need to enhance food safety management and use validated food safety procedures to ensure food safety of their products. Small and very-small scale dried produce processers have unique barriers and challenges when building food safety plans. Previous studies suggest these barriers and challenges include lack of resources, experience, food safety knowledge, and interest in food safety. This project will develop an active-learning food safety program, Dehydrating Safely, to increase food safety knowledge and behavior compliance that will help to promote food safety culture in the dried produce industry and to reduce foodborne illness. We will utilize qualitative and quantitative research approaches to 1) Assess food safety knowledge, attitude and practice, and identify the barriers of small and very-small dried produce processors for developing food safety plans; 2) Develop an audience-driven food safety outreach program that addresses the barriers identified and utilizes active-learning interventions to increase knowledge level and practice compliance, impacting day-to-day food safety challenges on production; 3) Develop and evaluate a train-the-trainer program for two essential trainer groups, extension educators, and food safety managers. Our proposal aligns with USDA&s strategic goals of 1) maximizing the ability of American agricultural producers to prosper by feeding and clothing the world, 2) strengthening the stewardship of private lands through technology and research, and 3) providing all Americans access to a safe, nutritious, and secure food supply. The project objectives address the Food Safety Outreach program audience priority of serving small-scale food processors.