Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Fruit Production
Marketing food safely


March 31, 2008
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

A new publication aims to help producers maintain farm direct marketing as a safe, workable and profitable business option.

A new tool for farm direct marketers

A new publication aims to help producers maintain farm direct marketing as a safe, workable and profitable business option.

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“Consumers everywhere demand quality and safety in the foods they buy,” says Betty Vladicka, food safety specialist with Alberta Agriculture, Rural and Rural Development. “In fact, confidence in food safety is one of the most important factors for food purchases. Studies show Albertans are especially confident in the safety of food sold at farmers’ markets and direct to consumers.”

Darlene Hegel of Valta Bison, Valhalla Centre, knows how important food safety is to farm direct marketers. “Food safety and quality products are the foundation of our business,” says Hegel. “If consumers don’t have confidence in our products, they won’t buy them. It is our responsibility as producers to provide a good safe product for people to purchase.”

Alberta Agriculture, in partnership with the Alberta Farmers’ Market Association (AFMA), has produced the new workbook and resource manual, entitled Marketing Food Safely – Farm Direct Advantage. The publication is another tool to help the industry ensure the continued safety of their products.

“The manual supplies in-depth information on the safe marketing of food products. It does not discuss good agricultural production practices, as these are addressed by on-farm food safety programs,” says Vladicka, co-author of the manual. “Farm-direct marketers who complete the 16 chapters will have a better understanding of the factors that contribute to food borne illness and how to prevent incidences from occurring.”

Marketing Food Safely – Farm Direct Advantage presents the prerequisite programs that lay out the universal steps needed to ensure safe handling of food. It includes the recommended practices for premises, sanitation, storage, transportation, equipment, personal hygiene, food handling, pest control and recall.

The publication features three different case studies showing some of the food safety issues faced by farm direct marketers. It includes information on pertinent legislation for all farm direct marketers and specific regulations for marketers of meat, poultry and dairy products. Producers and processors can work through the manual at home as time permits.

Marketing Food Safely – Farm Direct Advantage is available from the Alberta Farmers’ Market Association (AFMA). The cost is $50 for AFMA members or $90 for non-members. To order, call (780) 644-5377.