Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement bill to new Director of Ag

March 9, 2012

The Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement has been sent to the Director of Agriculture this week for his consideration in creating an officially sanctioned "Voluntary food safety marketing agreement" for Ohio.

The Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement proposes food safety standards for growers of fruits and vegetables to implement on the farm.  Farmers can register with OPMA and gain membership upon implementing set standards and passing audits.  This program is considered an option for farms that are exempt from FDA standards but are still required by customer demand to be foodsafety-compliant in some form.  

The program touts a cheaper and size-specific methodology to achieving membership status.  It is also run mostly by other farmers on various technical review boards.  Its rigor comes from following ISO regulatory requirements.  Membership also requires attendance in a food safety educational course such as the OSU fruit and vegetable safety team's 3-hour program.

The hope is customers will accept the OPMA certification as their food safety requirement and purchase food from growers participants.  Only time will tell if customers adopt this program and farmers participate.