The Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee has launched its free, online 'Metrics 101' training program as part of the group’s comprehensive food safety program for winter vegetables.
Metrics 101 is designed to provide a simple overview of food safety metrics with a focus on remaining compliant with the vegetable metrics program in Arizona, says Vicki Lynne-Scott, chair, Arizona Leafy Greens technical subcommittee.
“The online training simplifies the program for everyone and does a good job explaining why we maintain the protocols we have,” says Lynne-Scott.
‘Metrics’ refer to science-based food safety standards and practices which measure and assess individual food safety compliance plans within the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements (LGMAs) in Arizona and California. The metrics are based on the core elements and best practices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 'good agricultural practices' and 'good handling practices.'
Arizona Leafy Greens is a consortium of shippers of Arizona leafy greens produce implemented to provide protective controls to ensure safety of leafy greens products grown and shipped from Arizona. It’s comprised of 90 percent of the state’s vegetable growers and shippers in a volunteer network that enables them to proactively diffuse potential issues through an intricate system of checks and balances.
The online Metrics 101 tool includes 15 easy-to-digest modules covering topics ranging from environmental assessments to animal encroachment, or the 13 categories identified in the metrics document. It includes quizzes after each module, plus related online games and activities.
The training is available at metrics101.org. Users can access and complete the modules at their own pace as the program tracks where the user previously logged off.
The information is specifically designed for supervisory roles and personnel who need to understand the basic rules and rationale behind the comprehensive food safety program which the leafy greens vegetable industry pioneered, first in California and then several years later in Arizona.
The program was designed to ensure compliance with federal regulations for food safety, including anticipated Food Safety Modernization Act standards.
The Arizona program is administered by the Arizona Department of Agriculture and closely monitored by USDA-licensed inspectors.