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Trainings ready growers, packers for GAPs audits
That's why the University of Georgia is offering a special training, "Passing the Georgia GAPs Food Safety Audit" July 23 in Moultrie, Ga., and Aug. 8 in Vidalia, Ga.

The Georgia GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) certification and audit requires growers and packers to develop food safety plans similar to those used by food processors. GAPs focus on eight potential contamination or safety hazard points in growing and handling produce.

The one-day UGA program will give fresh-produce growers and packers hands-on training on designing and putting GAPs into place in their own operations. Participants will be eligible to get a third-party audit for a greatly reduced fee.

Once the audit certifies a farm is following food safety guidelines, the grower or packer will be certified by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and can put the certification seal on packaging.

Each program will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. The Moultrie workshop will be at the Colquitt County Agri-Complex on U.S. Highway 319. The Vidalia program will be at the Vidalia Community Center a block off U.S. Highway 280 on Old Airport Road.

Participants must preregister by July 18 for the Moultrie program or Aug. 5 for Vidalia. A $20 fee covers lunch and other costs.

To learn more or preregister, contact the nearest county office of the University of Georgia Extension Service. Or call GAPs field coordinator George Ponder at (229) 392-3846 or UGA food scientist Bill Hurst at (706) 542- 2574. Or go to the Web at 0026 www.ugatiftonconference.org/events.htm 25F8 .

(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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