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PMA and Sysco bring local grower food safety training to Orlando

(September 30, 2010)—Local growers in Florida can access indispensable food safety information when an innovative partnership among Produce Marketing Association, Sysco Corporation and Primuslabs.com brings local grower training to Orlando on Oct. 13.

The one-day workshop is designed to help local growers explore the challenges of implementing a company food safety plan, meet the requirements of restaurant and retail outlets, and above all, protect their business and bottom line. Hands-on demonstrations and discussions with experts provide needed tools to build customized food safety programs.

“Our customers want local food and our responsibility is to source local food that’s been grown under safe, strict growing and harvesting conditions,” said Rich Dachman, Sysco’s vice president of produce. “Partnering with PMA allows us to take our shared commitment to sustainability and offer an effective means to give local growers access to some tremendous resources, right in their backyard.”

The Orlando workshop will begin with a discussion about the changing environment around food safety. PMA food safety experts will provide a brief history of food safety, and discuss the importance of establishing a food safety culture. A Sysco representative will discuss the importance of food safety to the company, and summarize the objectives of its local grower program. A chef and restaurateur will be on hand to discuss their perspectives on food safety and sourcing locally.

The afternoon session led by Primus will cover how to build a customized food safety program, and the basics of a third party audit. PMA food safety experts wrap up the day by outlining next steps for implementing customized food safety plans, and where growers can find help. Q&A and hands-on demonstration sessions throughout the day will help ensure local growers can apply learning to their businesses.

“The unique value of each workshop is its specific relevance for the local grower,” said Johnna Hepner, PMA’s director of food safety and technology. “To have PMA, Sysco and Primus food safety experts in your neighborhood and speaking directly to your needs is an unprecedented opportunity for local growers. This workshop absolutely will give them the tools they need to develop a food safety program so they can compete in today’s new reality.”

The workshop registration fee is $75. The pre-registration deadline is Oct. 5. Specific information about the Orlando event, including registration, is available at http://legacy.pma.com/pdf/localgrowersymp.pdf.  Companies interested in sponsoring a workshop should contact PMA’s Business Development Team at development@pma.com  

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