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. Jerry Iles training growers in Fairfiled County

    Meet Our Team Members

    Oct 31, 2018

    Jerry Iles-Extension Educator Fairfield County

    Jerry has been a member of the OSU Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team since 2014.  Jerry focuses on local foods and serves produce growers in Farifield County that sell directly to the public via farmers markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) as well as a small Plain (Amish) community that sells at the weekly Bremen Produce Auction produce auction.  Jerry says that being a member of the OSU Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team is important in his role as a county Extension Educator so that he can offer Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) training for local producers that wish to sell at area farmers markets and produce auctions.  In addition to providing support for local foods and CSA's Jerry specializes in watershed management and water quality issues and land use planning issues.

  2. Lindsey Pender

    Lindsey Pender Joins the OSU Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team

    Sep 21, 2018

    Lindsey Pender is our newest member of the Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team. An undeniable passion for agriculture born from a lifetime on the ranch was the motivating factor for Lindsey to pursue a Master of Extension Education at Colorado State University and cultivate a career in producer education and assistance.  Although her undergraduate degree is in Animal Science (from CSU Chico), Lindsey has proven herself a valuable asset in food safety education and outreach. She is a Produce Safety Alliance FSMA Grower Trainer, FSMA On-Farm Readiness Review Assessor, and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) trainer.  She is also certified in Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP).  Lindsey has experience working with underserved populations and will be coordinating fresh produce safety trainings for these communities in Ohio.  She will also be coordinating Food Safety Plan Writing Workshops and On-farm Audit Readiness reviews.  When not working with producers or developing outreach materials, Lindsey's time is usually occupied by her husband, three children, and dog. She also enjoys hiking, exploring, and artistic pursuits. 

  3. OSU Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team Awarded OSU Connect and Collaborate Grant

    May 15, 2018

    Development of an Education and Outreach Program to Assist Fresh Produce Growers with Meeting Food Safety Requirements
    Dr. Melanie Lewis Ivey, Dr. Sanja Ilic, Ivory Harlow and members of the fruit and vegetable safety team were awarded a  OSU Conenct and Collaborate grant to develop food safety plan writing workshops and on-farm audit readiness programming for growers in Ohio and bordering counties in West Virginia and Kentucky.  In addition pre-harvest food safety knowledge and awareness training for new and underserved produce growers in the community wil be delivered.  Project partners include The Wallace Center, North Central Region Center for FSMA Training, Extension, and Technical Service (NCRFSE), National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association (OEFFA), The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC)-Outlying Branches, and The Ohio State University’s Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT). For more information on the project contact Dr. Lewis Ivey or Dr. Sanja Ilic.

    Project Summary
    Fresh produce is the leading cause of foodborne illnesses in the country and Ohio growers must meet federal food safety standards to ensure that their produce is safe. Understanding regulatory requirements, awareness of safe agricultural practices, and developing and following written food safety plans (FSP) are critical steps toward minimizing the risk of on farm produce contamination. OSU lags behind other land grant universities in providing fresh produce safety education and training programs. In addition, stakeholder awareness of fresh produce safety programming available at OSU is low compared to their awareness of programming in other states. We have formed a team of Food Safety State Specialists, Extension educators, and community organizations to provide a diverse group of Ohio growers with the tools and resources needed to supply consumers with a safe product.  To address these needs, we will provide:  i) pre-harvest food safety knowledge and awareness training to new and underserved produce growers in the community; ii) farm food safety plan writing workshops and on-farm audit readiness programs; and iii) a roadmap for an OSU food safety training program for FSMA equivalence. In order to achieve our goal in improving fresh produce safety and sustaining the fresh produce industry, we will form a fresh produce safety education and training cooperative with participating food safety experts from Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.