Collaborative Produce Safety Training Initiative

Program Description

The Collaborative Produce Safety Training Initiative is a collaborative effort between the University of Maryland Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition  (JIFSAN), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) the Produce Safety Alliance based at Cornell University (PSA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) .

Purpose of Collaborative Produce Safety Training Initiative

The purpose of the Collaborative Produce Safety Training Initiative is to provide the international community with mechanisms to build produce safety capacity according to FDA’s International Food Safety Capacity Building Plan and FDA’s New Era for Smarter Food Safety per the regulations outlined in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR). International produce safety capacity building is to be conducted in a manner consistent with training that was developed and is being delivered domestically through the further development and dissemination of outreach, education and technical materials and the establishment of training and technical assistance networks (TAN).

Collaborative Produce Safety Training Initiative Trainings

• JIFSAN International Produce Safety Rule Training Programs offered:

  • -Produce Safety Rule Training of the Trainers (PSR-TTT)
  • -Produce Safety Rule Grower Training (PSR-GT)

• Historical International Produce Safety Rule Training Activities

Initial Activities:

• Activities in 2017 focused largely on conducting training programs through collaborations with the USDA-FAS Food Safety and Agricultural Sustainability Training (FAST) program utilizing USAID funding. USDA’s aim of minimizing trade disruptions in horticulture value chains aligned with FDA’s capacity building goals in Latin America.

• The FAST program was focused on building capacity of the public and private food sectors in Central and South America and the Caribbean Community, especially with small and medium producers and processors that export to the United States.

• After the Train the Trainer (TTT) course, FAS required these trainers to conduct at least one Produce Safety Alliance Grower training (GT), using the PSA GT material, to a small/medium-sized exporting supply farm or a government institute.

• Collaborative Produce Safety Training Initiative started by offering initially PSR-GT in Nicaragua in 2017 followed by 2 intensive trainings in Mexico and 2 intensive trainings in Costa Rica.

At the October 2017 TTT training in the Dominican Republic, it was decided that the current rate of programs could not effectively reach the number of growers needing training; and, that there was a need to develop a cadre of trainers in Latin America who could offer PSR- GT in Spanish, and who would be in the position to register subsequent GTs through the AFDO certification process.

To facilitate this in 2018 the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and JIFSAN pooled resources and combined efforts to train a larger number of trainers through these two intensive training courses in Costa Rica and two in Mexico.

1.) Course participants were vetted by FDA’s Latin America Office (LAO) and IICA in order to ensure that only qualified persons attended the programs.

2.) Those who participated only in the Costa Rica intensive programs were required to provide trainings to at least 125 growers after they obtained their PSA Lead Trainer status. LTs are key to developing a training infrastructure because one LT is required at each grower training.

• In June 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IICA and JIFAN focused their resources (supplied to them through their own separate Cooperative Agreements with different offices within FDA) on providing PSR- GT's via Zoom in FDA priority countries and coaching trainers through the Lead Trainer process.

• In September 2020 to present - JIFSAN started to collaborate with the private sector to provide grower trainings. Efforts initially began with a collaboration with the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) and one of the Mexican regulatory authorities (SENASICA) with JIFSAN subsidizing remote Grower Trainings in Mexico with a supplemental day of training on the Best Practices Guide for Safe Papayas ;


For program inquiries, please contact:

James Rushing, Program Manager |
Judy Cooper, Program Coordinator |