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Food Safety Program

Establishing a Food Safety & Quality Assurance Program for Small Scale Farmers and Cooperatives in Mississippi

Assortment of vegetables on a table

The Food Safety and Quality Assurance Project began in August of 2000 with the general objective to develop and implement a food safety quality assurance program for small-scale farmers and cooperatives in the state of Mississippi. Within the University’s extension and outreach network, there are six hundred (600) farmers and fifteen (15) cooperatives, divided into six (6) cluster in thirty- five (35) counties in Mississippi. These will be trained using interactive workshops, filed days, farm demonstrations, seminars, and conferences to implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) requirements.

The initial targeted beneficiaries and agribusiness entities selected for the pilot test and this project overall are as follows:

  • Indian Springs Farmers Association (Southwest Mississippi)
  • Beat IV Cooperative and Farmers Market (Northeastern Mississippi)
  • Milestone Cooperative (West Central Mississippi)
  • Sweet Potato Growers Cooperative (Northwest Mississippi)
  • North Bolivar Vegetable Growers Cooperative (Northeastern Mississippi)
  • North Delta Producer Growers Association
  • Mississippi Meat Goat Cooperative

The specific objectives of the project are to:

  1. Identify critical points for possible sources of food borne contaminations on the farms, in packing houses and pre-processing livestock facilities.
  2. Use of material identified to demonstrate to farmers, packing house operators and livestock handlers how to reduce the risk of product contamination on the farms, in packing houses and pre-processing, livestock holding facilities, and in event of a problem, to develop rapid response “trace back systems”
  3. Use HACCP material developed to design a Mississippi Delta Regional Growers specific “Good Agricultural Practices-(GAP)” manual to be incorporated in the University curriculum and to serve as a guidance document for growers, packing houses operators, and livestock handlers.

For more information, contact:

Nicole Bell
Food Safety Agribusiness Specialist
(601) 877-2425 or (601) 443-3500