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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU food safety expert to teach local growers healthy agriculture practices

LAS CRUCES - With the recent outbreak of food-borne illnesses, New Mexico growers need to be aware of food safety in their operations. Three workshops are scheduled around the state to help local growers develop a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) food safety plan.

"GAP is intended to be a proactive preventative approach to ensure that farm produce is safe for consumers," said Nancy Flores, New Mexico State University Extension food technology specialist who is conducting the program. "Any grower or producer of fruit or vegetables that plans to market their produce via New Mexico Farmer's Markets or vendors to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture Farm to School program should attend this workshop."

The workshop, which will cost $10, will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a working lunch provided. The locations are:

•Capitan on Tuesday, July 29, at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds.
•Las Cruces on Wednesday, July 30, at the Dona Ana County Extension Office, 530 N. Church Street.
•Silver City on Thursday, July 31, at the Grant County Extension Office, 2610 North Silver Street.

The program will cover an overview of GAP, the safe use of manure, worker hygiene, water usage, harvest sanitation and post harvest handling, and an update from NMDA.

Sponsors of the workshops are NMSU Cooperative Extension Service's Small Farm Task Force and Rural Agriculture Improvement and Public Affairs Project, NMDA, New Mexico Apple Council and New Mexico Farmer's Market.

To register, contact Gloria Hernandez at (575) 646-2198.