Food Safety Bites

Food Safety Bites is a series of short podcasts covering practical food safety practices for farmers and farmworkers. We encourage you to review the entire series for full understanding of these complex issues.

This series was developed by a team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Organic Program and funded by the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (award 2017-70020-27239)

podcastdescriptionlengthwritten transcript
1. Introduction to Food Safety BitesJoin us in learning about on-farm food safety through this 34-episode Food Safety Bites podcast series.7:24Episode 1 transcript
2. Why food safety mattersSimple practices in the field can ensure your customers receive safe food7:08Episode 2 transcript
3. Understanding microorganisms that affect food safetyBacteria and other microorganisms cause food safety problems, understanding how they function helps create solutions.10:23Episode 3 transcript
4. Worker hygieneUnderstand how workers can be a source of food contamination8:29Episode 4 transcript
5. HandwashingFarm worker hands easily transfer bacteria, effective hand washing is a simple solution8:15Episode 5 transcript
6. Handwash stationsA few simple requirements lead to an effective hand washing station9:09Episode 6 transcript
7. Illness, injury and bodily fluidsUnderstand and be prepared to deal with employee health related
6:31Episode 7 transcript
8. Training supervisors and workersProper training of farm managers and workers is critical in managing contamination risks8:57Episode 8 transcript
9. Visitors to the farmVisitors present another potential source of contamination on your farm9:59Episode 9 transcript
10. Corrective actionsPlanning for simple procedures to correct potential contamination when prevention fails7:32Episode 10 transcript
11. Manure and other fertility inputsManure and other inputs can be a source of problems and must be managed carefully10.46Episode 11 transcript
12. Wildlife and produce safetyWildlife of all kinds invariably visit your farm fields. Monitoring and corrective measures can secure your farm product's safety.11:13Episode 12 transcript
13. Domestic animalsPets and livestock can be managed to lessen risk to produce10:39Episode 13 transcript
14. Working animalsAnimals used in food production must be carefully manged to prevent contamination7:41Episode 14 transcript
15. Conservation and produce safetyThere is value in providing diverse habitat on farm edges to help with produce safety7:27Episode 15 transcript
16. Pre-harvest and harvest protocolsProper planning and preparation for harvest sets you up for food safety success9:53Episode 16 transcript
17. Tools, transport and storageCleaning tools, storage and transport bins and equipment is a critical element of reducing food safety risk.10:12Episode 17 transcript
18. What are the risks with agricultural production water?Water used to produce food must be tested and used wisely9:16Episode 18 transcript
19. Managing risk for ag production waterFollow these tips to avoid potential problems with water used to produce the food you grow.8:44Episode 19 transcript
20. What are the risks for post-harvest handling water?Water used after harvest for cleaning can be a potential risk for contamination9:05Episode 20 transcript
21. Managing post-harvest handling waterTechniques for managing water used on harvested foods8:13Episode 21 transcript
22. Water testingWater used for different purposes requires different testing, each test provides valuable information12:34Episode 22 transcript
23. Understanding how pathogens infiltrate into produceLearn how to avoid pathogens and water infiltrating into your produce10:16Episode 23 transcript
24. Managing iceIce is made from water, and ice machines are notorious for harboring bacteria. Potential contaminants present food safety risks.7:59Episode 24 transcript
25. Cleaning, sanitizing, disinfectingCleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting are three distinct procedures that reduce pathogen contamination in different ways.8:58Episode 25 transcript
26. Pack shed zones, cleaning and sanitizing equipment Keeping dirty and clean zones and controlling activity in the pack shed helps reduce contamination risk.9:03Episode 26 transcript
27. BiofilmsBiofilms are difficult to remove. Understanding how to prevent
their buildup is important wherever water or produce is present.
9:38Episode 27 transcript
28. Pack shed construction and layoutHow to setup and maintain an effective and efficient pack shed with food safety in mind.11:04Episode 28 transcript
29. RecordkeepingMonitor food safety activities to improve your operation and meet regulatory requirements12:13Episode 29 transcript
30. Dealing with high risk situationsAccidents and natural disasters can create hazardous situations, learn troubleshooting and best practices.11:06Episode 30 transcript
31. Regulatory and market requirements for FSMA, GAP, etc.You may be required to or have the option of complying with different food safety certifications. We will not elaborate on their rules, but will point you to resources.13:56Episode 31 transcript
32. COVID 19 and enhanced produce safety activitiesCOVID 19 adds a layer of complication to the farm food safety equation12:29Episode 32 transcript
33. Legal and economic ramifications of food borne illnessesFinding yourself responsible for a food safety problem will likely create legal and potentially economic troubles. We help you understand the issues.12:26Episode 33 transcript
34. Final summary and thank-yousLearning about food safety issues and best practices can help avoid problems in dynamic farm environments. Thank you to the many individuals who assisted in this project.8:54Episode 34 transcript
Food Safety Resources
Federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

FDA decision tree– FSMA Facts: Does this rule apply to you?

Produce Safety Alliance, housed at Cornell University
Information on meeting the Produce Safety Rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act

Records needed for FSMA produce safety rule (Produce Safety Alliance)

Video explaining exemptions and exclusions for small farms under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule (University of MN Extension)

Information on GAP (Good Agricultural Practices)

USDA GAP website

Food Safety Legal issues

Online legal resource on food safety for farmers and food producers with an interactive map showing laws for each state (Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems and University of Vermont Extension’s Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety)

Water-related articles

Water Analysis Method Requirement in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule (Produce Safety Alliance)

On-line tool to determine the relationship of overhead irrigation water with levels of contamination (Produce Safety Alliance)

Microbial die-off rates of contaminated irrigation water (Michigan State University)

Project Credits

Harriet Behar wrote and recorded the podcast series. Harriet has dozens of years of experience visiting hundreds of farms as an organic inspector, and is a certified Produce Safety Alliance food safety trainer.
Annalisa Hultberg, Statewide Educator in Food Safety at the University of Minnesota, reviewed and advised on the project.
Jody Padgham, Outreach Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison, provided technical support for the project.
Dr. Erin Silva, Associate Professor, Organic and Sustainable Cropping Systems Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison managed the project.
Ann Christoffer created and performed the background music for the series. Ann is a musician, singer and songwriter from the Driftless Region of Iowa and Southwest Wisconsin.