Addressing a problem revealed a few years ago by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State Extension will test a food safety training program for farmers market vendors in select cities across Pennsylvania this summer.
The pilot program, which will include a three-hour, face-to-face session, is directed at small-scale food processors and farmers who are producing foods for sale at farmers markets and farm stands. The training encompasses key food safety concepts, such as safe processing and preparation methods, guidance for managing food safety risks in the retail setting and other important food safety-related information.
Catherine Cutter, professor of food science and food safety extension specialist; Joshua Scheinberg, doctoral student in food science; and Martin Bucknavage, senior food safety extension associate; designed the training. The program grew out of research published in 2013 by Scheinberg and Cutter that revealed higher percentages of the pathogens salmonella and campylobacter in whole chickens sampled from farmers markets in Pennsylvania, when compared to those purchased at supermarkets.