Fruit and Vegetable Safety Program

The Ohio State University Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team

The OSU Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team educates growers of fresh produce about Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)-Fresh Produce Safety Rules. We strive to ensure a strong scientific basis behind the best practices taught and recommended by our team, provide helpful tools and resources to develop risk assessments and food safety plans for the farm, and promote high-quality, safe produce from Ohio growers.

The OSU Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team was formed as a result of requests from producers for food safety education programs.  These initial programs demonstrated a need for outreach activities focused on fresh produce safety and led to an Excellence in Engagement Grant that enabled us to expand our educational programs statewide. Today our interdisciplinary team consists of OSU faculty, State Extension Specialists, Extension Educators, and Field Specialists.  Team members conduct research to improve best management practices, deliver food safety trainings and provide support for developing and implementing food safety plans. In 2015 and 2016 we trained 1257 fresh produce growers on GAPs and 92 growers on FSMA-Fresh Produce Rules.


  1. OSU Awarded Food Safety Education Grant

    Dec 17, 2017

    Food Safety Education and Outreach Programming for Plain Growers

    Dr. Sanja Ilic and Dr. Melanie Lewis Ivey were awarded a  $200 000 USDA-NIFA grant to develop food safety programming for Plain produce growers in Ohio.  The programming will be extended to Plain communities in Michigan and Pennsylvania.  The grant includes a regional conference to be held in Ohio in 2019.  A summary of the project is provided below.

    Project Summary

    Food safety education continues to be a challenge for limited-resource populations. Although Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania are home to over half of the Amish population in the US, state educucational programs are often generic and don’t adequately address specific needs of the Amish.  A stakeholder roundtable meeting identified the need for GAPs training that is more relevant to farming practices utilized by Plain growers. While many Plain growers have participated in GAPs trainings in the past and are aware of on-farm food safety hazards, it is evident that program content and delivery methods should be modified to better meet the needs of Plain growers. The objectives of this proposals are to: 1) develop GAPs training adressing the unique farming and handling practices and communication requirements of Plain growers, 2) pilot Plain grower GAPs with distinct settlements in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan (tri-state), and 3) share materials with Plain grower populations through North Central Region Center for FSMA Training. Plain grower GAPs training will be culturally adapted, consider sociolinguistic characteristics and consist entirely of practices utilized by Plain growers. The materials will be designed for settings without electricity. User-friendly presentation materials and food safety plan and recordkeeping templates will be developed for Plain growers. The training will be piloted by Plain growers across the tristate and complement on-going food safety trainings in these states. Completion of this project will allow us to reach a larger number of Plain growers ensuring a greater impact on fresh produce safety in the tri-state region.

  2. OEFFA Publishes Article on Food Safety Planning Down on the Farm

    Dec 17, 2017

    Food Safety Planning Down on the Farm: Examples from Ohio Certified Organic Farms
    This report can help you understand what it means to develop a farm food safety plan and meet new federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety rules.  Food Safety Planning Down on the Farm: Examples from Ohio Certified Organic Farms features case studies of eight vegetable and fruit farms of various scales and serving diverse markets.  The publication identifies challenges that these farms faced in developing their own food safety plans and explores what changes they made to reduce their risk.  Whether or not you are certified organic, OEFFA hopes you'll see yourself in these profiles, be able to take away new ideas, and feel less intimidated by food safety planning and costs.

  3. Ohio Produce Network (previously OPGMA Congress)

    Dec 13, 2017

    January 15-17, 2018
    Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, Sandusky, Ohio

    Featured Speakers include Dr. Phil Tocco (Michigan State Univeristy), Matt Fout (Ohio Department of Agriculture), Mike Kauffman (The Ohio State University), Dr. Sanja Ilic (The Ohio State University), and Dr. Melanie Lewis Ivey (The Ohio State University).  For a list of our speaker's presentation topics and for information on Produce Safety Alliance Trainings that will be offered during the Ohio Produce Network click here.  To learn more about registration and programming click here.