food safety

Best Practices for Cooking and Storing Meats – #AskUConnExtension

On this week’s #AskUConnExtension Showcase, we answer your questions about food preparation and storage. Extension Educator Dr. Indu Upadhyaya demonstrates the tips and tricks of ideal internal meat temperatures, best practices for storage, and more.
For more food-safe information, be sure to visit foodsafety.uconn.edu

squares with text and picture of Indu Upadhyaya
Text: Cooking meat can be a sensitive job. But, with some insider knowledge, one can easily learn the art of cooking the perfect chicken, ham, or steak before your next big outing. Dr. Indu Upadhyaya, an Assistant Extension Educator with UConn Extension, walks us through the basics around both cooking food and storing food safely, efficiently, and in a way that will impress.

Virtual Meat & Poultry HACCP Course – June 2021

 

Date/Time of Event:  June 22, 23, and 24, 2021 

Tuesday, June 22 (8.30 am-4.30 pm) 

Wednesday, June 23 (8:30 am -4.30 pm) 

Thursday, June 24 (8:30 am-2.00 pm) 

Instructors 

  • Indu Upadhyaya, Ph.D., Food Safety Specialist, UConn Cooperative Extension 
  • Diane Hirsch, MPH, Food Safety Specialist, UConn 
  • Lori Pivarnik, Ph.D., Food Safety Specialist, University of Rhode Island 
  • Jason Bolton, Ph.D., Food Safety Specialist, UMaine Cooperative Extension 
  • Robson Machado, Ph.D., Food Safety Specialist, UMaine Cooperative Extension 

 Summary

This virtual, three-day International HACCP Alliance approved Meat and Poultry HACCP course will be on a zoom platform, it will provide participants with the information they need to prepare a HACCP food safety program and also plan for a plant under USDA/FSIS Grant of Inspection. 

 If you work in a slaughter-only facility, email indu.upadhyaya@uconn.edu before registering. 

During this course, we will not prepare an HACCP plan for your specific operation but provide resources and guidelines for you to successfully prepare a HACCP plan. This course meets requirements for the training of personnel responsible for HACCP plan development and implementation, including plan validation and verification activities. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE:    

You MUST be present for the entirety of the course if you wish to receive the HACCP certificate. Please make sure you have a computer/laptop (no phones or tablets allowed) with built-in video or external webcam and microphone with sufficient internet connectivity for the entire duration of the course. There will be 10-minute breaks and Lunch break each day of the course. The agenda is tentative and subject to change.     

  • No more than 3 people from the same company should register for the course.    
  • Please become familiar with Google Docs, if you are not already.  
  • If you are joining in the same physical room as someone else, you must utilize headphones to minimize background noise and feedback.  

Registration Types and Their Associated Fees: 

Course registration fee (includes all course materials):  $425  

You must pre-register. Space is limited. Registration materials must be received by May 31st, 11.59 PM. 

Click Here to Register

Find more information here.

Educator Spotlight: Indu Upadhyaya

Supporting Farmers, Businesses, Students and Communities

Indu
Photo: Kevin Noonan

With positive vision and great ambition, Indu Upadhyaya joined UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources in June 2019 as an Assistant Extension Food Safety Educator. Indu obtained her Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (equivalent to DVM) and a Master’s degree in Veterinary Biochemistry from Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Veterinary Education and Research in Pondicherry, India.

After working as a practicing veterinarian in India for a year, she joined UConn to pursue her PhD from the Department of Animal Science focusing on poultry microbiology and safety.

After completing her PhD, Indu moved to the University of Arkansas Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, Fayetteville, Arkansas as a postdoctoral associate, working in collaboration with the USDA-ARS Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit.

Before returning to UConn as a faculty member, Indu worked as an Assistant Professor in the School of Agriculture at Tennessee Tech University for one year, where she led a collaborative research program in poultry and fresh produce safety. She also taught two upper-level undergraduate courses in poultry science and facilitated several outreach activities and recruitment drives in Tennessee.

“As I approach completion of two years in my current role, I feel respected and valued in my department and in the college community.” Indu says. “The majority of my work so far has focused on training Connecticut’s growers and producers to comply with the Produce Safety Rule (PSR), a part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that went into effect in 2016. I am also leading outreach efforts in several USDA, NE-SARE and CPS grants and look forward to contributing to them.”

Indu has conducted other trainings including Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) training for meat and poultry producers. These provide the framework for monitoring the total food system, from harvesting to consumption, to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

Indu is working alongside extension educators in the Northeast to conduct successful trainings for producers and growers. Working closely with Diane Hirsch, an Emeritus Extension Educator for Food Safety, has made for a smooth transition. With 2020 throwing curveballs for many of us, it did not dampen UConn Extension training programs including Food Safety.

“We have successfully completed multiple farmer trainings using remote learning,” Indu says. “This includes the Produce Safety Alliance Grower training (three courses with 52 trainees) and a, three-day, Meat and Poultry HACCP training (17 participants). I have also continued farm visits during the pandemic following CDC guidelines. Various online platforms have helped me to serve the Connecticut community by remote consultation on various food safety and handling practices.”

Indu has been awarded a Hatch-Multistate Hatch grant as lead PI for mitigating the food safety risks associated with fresh produce production and is a co-PI on several USDA-NIFA, and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education grants.

However, the biggest highlight for her in collaboration with UConn CAHNR colleagues, is a $10 million federal grant to improve sustainable poultry production globally. The USDA-NIFA funded project is developing an integrated and sustainable program for enhancing the viability of antibiotic-restricted broiler production in the poultry industry. The project launched in September of 2020 and focuses on a systems approach integrating bird health, human health, and environmental remediations to improve the sustainability of antibiotic restricted poultry production.

As a critical element in this grant, Indu is focusing on poultry outreach for both consumers and stakeholders to educate them on interventions and sustainable methods of production. She will conduct workshops, train-the-trainer programs and on-farm demonstrations to disseminate the results of the research objectives, so the stakeholders can implement more sustainable production practices.

“While our communities face ever evolving and serious challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, associated financial difficulties and health risks, I will continue to support farmers, small business owners, students and other members of the community through research, trainings and consultation in the state, region and nationally.”

Article by MacKenzie White

2021 FSMA Produce Safety Alliance Remote Grower Training Course

radishes in a person's hand with the words food safety on the photo2021 FSMA Produce Safety Alliance Remote Grower Training Course :

Register here: http://cahnrconference.uconn.edu

Date/Time of Event:

Monday, March 8th, 2021: 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Contact Person Phone and Email:

Indu Upadhyaya, 860-786-8191, indu.upadhyaya@uconn.edu

Instructors

  • Indu Upadhyaya, Ph.D., Food Safety Specialist, UConn Cooperative Extension
  • Diane Hirsch, MPH, Food Safety Specialist, UConn
  • Bruce Gresczyk, Owner, Gresczyk Farms

Course Summary:

The Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training Course has been designed to provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices knowledge that includes emphasis on co-management of food safety and environmental management goals, while outlining the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) that requires ‘At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.’ This course will be taught remotely on a Zoom platform as per the remote delivery guidelines established by PSA.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

In order to obtain a certificate that provides evidence of compliance with the training requirements of the rule, you must be present for the entire two-day course. Please make sure you have a computer/laptop (no phones or tablets allowed) with built-in video or external webcam and microphone with sufficient internet connectivity for the entire duration of the course. There will be 15-minute breaks during the course.

  • No more than 2 people from the same operation should register for the course.
  • If you are joining in the same physical room as someone else, you must utilize headphones to minimize background noise and feedback.

Registration Types and Their Associated Fees:

Course registration fee (includes all course materials and certificate): $50

The preferred method of registration/payment is through the CAHNR Conferences site, paying with a credit card. Please include both a work and cell/home phone number and regularly used email address in case of emergency or cancellation.

ONLINE REGISTRATION is PREFERRED: To register: Go to https://secure.touchnet.com/C21646_ustores/web/store_main.jsp?STOREID=106&SINGLESTORE=true OR http://cahnrconference.uconn.edu/ : Click on “Register for an event” VISA and MasterCard are accepted.

Registration is first come, first served, so please register early. You must pre-register. Space is limited. Registration materials must be received by February 22nd.

Cancellation Policy: No refunds or cancellations will be accepted after February 22nd.

Food Safety Tips For Your Holiday Turkey

turkeyThe holidays are a time to enjoy your family and friends— Avoid putting a damper on the holiday fun because of unsafe food handling and cooking practices. Follow these tips to play it safe this holiday season: http://bit.ly/Turkey_FoodSafety.
Los días festivos son días para disfrutar en familia y con amistades— Evite poner un amortiguador a la diversión durante esta temporada debido a la manipulación de alimentos y prácticas de cocina incorrectas y poco seguras. Sigue estos consejos para evitar accidentes esta temporada navideña – http://bit.ly/Turkey_FoodSafety.

Genetic Engineering Professional Development

teachers in laboratory with Dr. Gerry Berkowitz learning about DNA and GMO ]The American public is growing increasingly skeptical about the safety of genetically modified (GM) foods. Despite consensus in the scientific community that foods containing GM ingredients are safe, nearly half of Americans believe otherwise. Younger adults are also more likely to regard GM foods a health risk.

In order to address misunderstandings about GM foods and provide information about the applications of genetic engineering in agriculture and other fields, a team is developing a program to enhance science literacy for educators and young adults. The team is collaborating to create a standards-based curriculum and laboratory-based professional development for secondary school teachers on genetic engineering. The project aims to build the knowledge and confidence of educators and provide them with materials to deliver lessons related to genetic engineering in their classrooms.

High school teachers will participate in training at the Storrs campus, where they will utilize laboratory resources and build connections with academia and industry professionals. The networking opportunity will also allow educators to share career opportunities in the field of genetics with students. In addition to the professional development workshop, the program will prepare simpler exercises that can be taught outside of classroom and without the resources of a lab setting, such as during 4-H youth activities, to introduce scientific concepts.

Read the full article at http://bit.ly/UConn_PDSTEP.

Article by Jason M. Sheldon

What to Know Before You Go: Visiting a Farm During COVID

strawberriesFacemasks and social distancing have become the norm in all parts of our lives. Farm stands, community supported agriculture (CSA) operations; farmers’ markets and pick-your-own operations have remained open despite the pandemic. However, the operations have changed to adhere to regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Before you visit the farm or farmers’ market, there are a few things the farmer wants you to
know:
Wear your mask at all times. We are responsible for the health and safety of our
family, workers, and all of our farm visitors. Everyone must comply.
Minimize the number of people in your group. Although parts of the operation
are outdoors, we still have to follow state and CDC guidelines on the number of
visitors on the farm at one time. Reducing the number of people in your group helps.
Keep your children close at all times. If you do bring your children, make sure
they stay with you the entire time.
Don’t eat at the farm. Do not eat anything at the farm. If it’s a pick-your-own
operation, do not eat any fruit in the field. Wait until you get home, wash the berries
or other produce and then eat it. Do not bring snacks from home to the farm either.
Visit http://www.foodsafety.uconn.edu/ for more information on food safety.
Leave your pets at home. We love our animals too, but in these challenging times
we cannot have them at our farms or farmers’ markets. If someone was sick, they
can increase the spread of disease. Please leave your dogs at home.
Practice physical distancing. Even though we are outside or picking in the field we
need to maintain our physical distances from others. Our farms and markets are
setting up signs and marking areas for physical distancing to the best of our ability.
Please help us out and stay conscious of your proximity to other farm visitors and
workers.
Stay home if you feel ill. Please help us keep everyone safe and healthy.
Smile. Even with your facemask on, we’ll know that you’re smiling. We can’t wait to
see you at the farm, and appreciate your continued support.

Although these challenging times have created a new normal for all of us, going to a farm stand, pick-your-own operation or farmers’ market can restore some semblance of normal activity. Farmers want you to visit and purchase products. Crops are ripening daily and we all want to enjoy some Connecticut grown foods. Keep these tips in mind as you visit the farm so we can all enjoy the best that our farms have to offer.
To find a farm operation near you visit http://ctgrownmap.com/.

Article by Stacey Stearns and Nancy Barrett

 

Ask UConn Extension Your Questions

Indu
Indu Upadhyaya, Food Safety Assistant Extension Educator. Photo: Kevin Noonan

UConn Extension has collaborated with our partners, communities and stakeholders for over 100 years. We are proud to serve all 169 cities and towns in Connecticut. The worldwide pandemic involving COVID-19 (coronavirus) has produced unprecedented challenges in the UConn community and around the world. Our services continue during this challenging time.

We are still delivering the science-based information you need. We are ready to answer your questions. Consult with us by email or on the phone. All of our educators are working and ready to serve you. Ask us a question online.

We are developing virtual programs to offset canceled in-person learning Abby Beissingeropportunities. Our educators are writing and updating fact sheets and other information. You have access to educational materials on our YouTube channel. We are growing our suite of online resources every day to meet the needs of our communities and stakeholders.

UConn CAHNR Extension educators have curated resources related to COVID-19 for our statewide audiences, including families, businesses, and agricultural producers.

Resources for all audiences includes:

  • Food safety and cooking
  • Hand washing and sanitizers
  • Infection prevention
  • Financial advice
  • Listings of open farms/farmers’ markets and school emergency meal distribution

Parents and families with children out of school can use the resources from our UConn 4-H program to provide new educational activities for youth. Activities available will keep youth engaged and learning and are appropriate for a variety of age groups.

Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy
Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy.

A list of resources has been collected for Connecticut businesses. It is a clearinghouse of resources, and not an official site. Business owners can connect to the state resources we provide for official and legal advice.

Agricultural producers are still working on farms, in greenhouses and along the coast in Long Island Sound during the COVID-19 outbreak. Extension educators have developed resources for specific agricultural sectors, including fruit and vegetable farms, aquaculture, and nursery and landscape professionals. Links to important updates from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture also are available.

Our Extension educators are updating and adding resources regularly. Please visit http://bit.ly/COVID-19-Extension.

We are also ready to answer your other questions, including:

  • How do I get my water tested?
  • What is wrong with my plant?
  • Can I eat healthy on a budget?
  • How does my son/daughter join 4-H?

UConn CAHNR Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities.

We are here. We are ready to serve you.