Thursday, February 22, 2018

Water quality requirements under FSMA

Water quality: The final rule adopts the general approach to water quality proposed in the supplemental rule, with some changes. The final rule establishes two sets of criteria for microbial water quality, both of which are based on the presence of generic E. coli, which can indicate the presence of fecal contamination. No detectable generic E. coli are allowed for certain uses of agricultural water in which it is reasonably likely that potentially dangerous microbes, if present, would be transferred to produce through direct or indirect contact. Examples include water used for washing hands during and after harvest, water used on food-contact surfaces, water used to directly contact produce (including to make ice) during or after harvest, and water used for sprout irrigation. The rule establishes that such water use must be immediately discontinued and corrective actions taken before re-use for any of these purposes if generic E. coli is detected. The rule prohibits use of untreated surface water for any of these purposes. The second set of numerical criteria is for agricultural water that is directly applied to growing produce (other than sprouts). The criteria are based on two values, the geometric mean (GM) and the statistical threshold (STV). The GM of samples is 126 or less CFU of generic E. coli per 100 mL of water and the STV of samples is 410 CFU or less of generic E. coli in 100 mL of water. The GM is an average, and therefore represents what is called the central tendency of the water quality (essentially, the average amount of generic E. coli in a water source). STV reflects the amount of variability in the water quality (indicating E. coli levels when adverse conditions come into play—like rainfall or a high river stage that can wash waste into rivers and canals). Although this is an over simplification, it can be described as the level at which 90 percent of the samples are below the value. The FDA is exploring the development of an online tool that farms can use to input their water sample data and calculate these values. These criteria account for variability in the data and allow for occasional high readings of generic E.coli in appropriate context, making it much less likely (as compared to the originally proposed criteria for this water use) that a farm will have to discontinue use of its water source due to small fluctuations in water quality. These criteria are intended as a water management tool for use in understanding the microbial quality of agricultural water over time and determining a long-term strategy for use of water sources during growing produce other than sprouts. If the water does not meet these criteria, corrective actions are required as soon as is practicable, but no later than the following year. Farmers with agricultural water that does not initially meet the microbial criteria have additional flexibility by which they can meet the criteria and then be able to use the water on their crops. These options include, for example: Allowing time for potentially dangerous microbes to die off on the field by using a certain time interval between last irrigation and harvest, but no more than four consecutive days. Allowing time for potentially dangerous microbes to die off between harvest and end of storage, or to be removed during commercial activities such as washing, within appropriate limits. Treating the water. Testing: The final rule adopts the general approach to testing untreated water used for certain purposes proposed in the supplemental notice, with some changes. The rule still bases testing frequency on the type of water source (i.e. surface or ground water). In testing untreated surface water—considered the most vulnerable to external influences—that is directly applied to growing produce (other than sprouts), the FDA requires farms to do an initial survey, using a minimum of 20 samples, collected as close as is practicable to harvest over the course of two to four years. The initial survey findings are used to calculate the GM and STV (these two figures are referred to as the “microbial water quality profile”) and determine if the water meets the required microbial quality criteria. After the initial survey has been conducted, an annual survey of a minimum of five samples per year is required to update the calculations of GM and STV. The five new samples, plus the previous most recent 15 samples, create a rolling dataset of 20 samples for use in confirming that that the water is still used appropriately by recalculating the GM and STV. For untreated ground water that is directly applied to growing produce (other than sprouts), the FDA requires farms to do an initial survey, using a minimum of four samples, collected as close as is practicable to harvest, during the growing season or over a period of one year. The initial survey findings are used to calculate the GM and STV and determine if the water meets the required microbial quality criteria. After the initial survey has been conducted, an annual survey of a minimum of one sample per year is required to update the calculations of GM and STV. The new sample, plus the previous most recent three samples, create a rolling dataset of four samples for use in confirming that that the water is still used appropriately by recalculating the GM and STV. For untreated ground water that is used for the purposes for which no detectable generic E. coli is allowed, the FDA requires farms to initially test the untreated ground water at least four times during the growing season or over a period of one year. Farms must determine whether the water can be used for that purpose based on these results. If the four initial sample results meet the no detectable generic E. coli criterion, testing can be done once annually thereafter, using a minimum of one sample. Farms must resume testing at least four times per growing season or year if any annual test fails to meet the microbial quality criterion. There is no requirement to test agricultural water that is received from public water systems or supplies that meet requirements established in the rule (provided that the farm has Public Water System results or certificates of compliance demonstrating that the water meets relevant requirements), or if the water is treated in compliance with the rule’s treatment requirements. In September 2017, the FDA posted a list of methods it has determined to be scientifically valid and at least equivalent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s method 1603, which is referenced in the Produce Safety rule.

8th Annual Food Protection Alliance Conference

This is complex see https://extension.psu.edu/fsma The Produce Safety rule establishes, for the first time, science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. The rule is part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to implement the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. The final rule went into effect January 26, 2016. The first major compliance date for large farms, other than sprout operations, is set to begin on January 26, 2018. However, the FDA has announced that routine inspections associated with the Produce Safety rule will not begin until the spring of 2019 to allow time for more guidance, training, technical assistance, and planning. Large sprout operations were required to meet an earlier compliance date: January 26, 2017. Conference April 17-18, 2018 Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service 4-H Center 1510 Menaul Extension NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104 Hello NM Food Alliance Members! The Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center is hosting the 8th Annual Food Protection Alliance Conference to be held at the Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service 4-H Center in Albuquerque. The registration is live on www.preparingnewmexico.org or go to 8th Annual Food Protection Alliance . The draft agenda (attached) contains several high profile current event topics affecting New Mexico including continued discussion of FSMA implementation. For the largest producers implementation of the Rules has begun. The Conference intends to bring everyone up to date as to how FSMA affects producers by business size and what products they produce or process. Please register today! Some travel expense reimbursement may be available, please contact Janet with any questions jswitte@nmsu.edu .

USDA Launches Webpage Highlighting Resources to Help Rural Communities Address the Opioid Crisis

USDA Launches Webpage Highlighting Resources to Help Rural Communities Address the Opioid Crisis WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today unveiled a new webpage featuring resources to help rural communities respond to the opioid crisis. “While no corner of the country has gone untouched by the opioid crisis, small towns and rural places have been particularly hard hit,” Hazlett said. “The challenge of opioid misuse is an issue of rural prosperity and will take all hands on deck to address. The webpage we are launching today will help rural leaders build a response that is tailored to meet the needs of their community.” The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that more than 63,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016. More than half of those deaths involved opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin. USDA is playing an important role to help rural communities address this national problem at the local level through program investment, strategic partnerships and best practice implementation. In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump, which included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. In the area of quality of life, the Task Force included a recommendation to modernize health care access. The report highlighted the importance of telemedicine in enhancing access to primary care and specialty providers. The Task Force also found that improved access to mental and behavioral health care, particularly prevention, treatment and recovery resources, is vital to addressing the opioid crisis and other substance misuse in rural communities. To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB). USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

reen chile Chicken Chilaquiles

1 lb. NuMex green chile 1 lb. thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breast ¼ cup minced yellow onion 3 cloves garlic minced 24 yellow corn tortillas 2 cups cooking oil 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. black pepper 1 ½ C Monterey Jack cheese, shredded 2 tbsp. coarse sea salt Add salt, pepper, garlic, onion, NuMex green chile and chicken to crock pot, slow cooking for 6-8 hours. Once cooked, use forks to shred chicken in crock pot and let stand for half an hour to marry and infuse flavors. In a large skillet, pour in 2 cups of cooking oil and set heat to medium. Cut tortillas into 1 ½” slices. Fry strips in oil until golden brown and crispy. Drain onto paper towel to remove excess oil and sprinkle each batch with a little sea salt. Repeat until finished. Lay fried tortilla strips on baking sheet and layer with shredded chicken and chile pepper mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and place into preheated over for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Recipe from the 1st Annual Biad Chile Tough Book of Green Chile Recipes, available from the CPI. 

USDA Launches Webpage Highlighting Resources to Help Rural Communities Address the Opioid Crisis

USDA Launches Webpage Highlighting Resources to Help Rural Communities Address the Opioid Crisis WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today unveiled a new webpage featuring resources to help rural communities respond to the opioid crisis. “While no corner of the country has gone untouched by the opioid crisis, small towns and rural places have been particularly hard hit,” Hazlett said. “The challenge of opioid misuse is an issue of rural prosperity and will take all hands on deck to address. The webpage we are launching today will help rural leaders build a response that is tailored to meet the needs of their community.” The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that more than 63,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016. More than half of those deaths involved opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin. USDA is playing an important role to help rural communities address this national problem at the local level through program investment, strategic partnerships and best practice implementation. In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump, which included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. In the area of quality of life, the Task Force included a recommendation to modernize health care access. The report highlighted the importance of telemedicine in enhancing access to primary care and specialty providers. The Task Force also found that improved access to mental and behavioral health care, particularly prevention, treatment and recovery resources, is vital to addressing the opioid crisis and other substance misuse in rural communities. To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB). USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. # USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. ________________________________________

Monday, February 19, 2018

NMSU ACES High Certified Calf Program: Impact Statement

NMSU ACES High Certified Calf Program: Impact Statement Program Title: NMSU ACES High Certified Calf Program Problem: Sales of cows and calves are New Mexico’s second leading agricultural commodity with sales nearing $90 million in 2016. Market trends are predicted to continue to put pressure on cattle prices in the coming years. As the cattle market moves from record highs a few years ago, it will be critical for New Mexico ranches to capture as much revenue from their calf crop as possible in order to sustain their operation. Additionally, with increased scrutiny of antibiotic use, it is critical that the cattle industry more broadly adopts Beef Quality Assurance practices to produce healthy animals. NMSU CES Response: Formation of the ACES High certified calf program. The program requires adherence to Beef Quality Assurance practices. In addition, the program acts as a third party verification of vaccination and weaning programs to help producers maximize revenue. Results/Impact: Nearly 1000 calves were initially enrolled in the program and 468 calves participated in the NMSU ACES High + certified sale. ACES High + calves on average sold at a higher price than other calves that day. Collectively, participation in the program generated nearly $34,700 in additional revenue for ACES High + calves compared with calves that had no verification of vaccination or weaning program. During 2016 in New Mexico, 610,000 calves were marketed. If even 10% of those calves were in the ACES High + program and premiums were consistent, then participation in the program would generate nearly $4.3 million in net revenue from calf sales. Funding Sources: New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service Contact: Local NMSU County Extension Office or Craig Gifford, Ph.D. NMSU Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources MSC 3AE, PO Box 30003 Las Cruces, NM 88003 Phone: 575-646-6482 E-mail: cgifford@nmsu.edu 

New Publicaiton

Guide B-217: Beef Cow Efficiency in the Southwest Marcy A. Ward (Extension Livestock Specialist, Dept. of Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources) PDF: http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_b/B217.pdf Guide I-106: Skin Cancer Sonja Koukel (Associate Professor/Extension Community and Environmental Health Specialist, Dept. of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences) PDF: http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_i/I106.pdf