Metrics aren’t supposed to be intimidating, but for those who are involved in food safety, the immense burden of monitoring and recording all of the information that is required for food safety can be daunting.
To help educate those who have this responsibility, the Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee has added a valuable component to its comprehensive food safety program: a free, on-demand, online Metrics 101 training program.
“The sheer number of reporting requirements that our members have is incredible,” said Arizona Leafy Greens Technical Subcommittee Chair Vicki Lynne-Scott. “This program is designed to provide a very simple overview of the foundation of our program – the Metrics – and help our members remain compliant without having to train and retrain personnel on all that is required when an audit happens. The online training simplifies the program for everyone and does a good job explaining why we maintain the protocols we have.”
“The Metrics” refers to the set of science-based food safety standards and practices that are used to measure and assess individual food safety compliance plans within the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements (LGMAs) in Arizona and California. Membership in the LGMAs is voluntary, but when shippers join, compliance with The Metrics is mandatory. The Metrics are based on the core elements and best practices of the USDA’s Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP).
The training, developed in 15 easy-to-digest modules, covers everything from environmental assessments to encroachment by animals, or the 13 categories that are identified in The Metrics document. It includes quizzes following each module, as well as online games and activities. The training is available at metrics101.org and only requires a one-time registration. Users can access and complete the modules at their leisure, since the program tracks where the user logged off.
The information is specifically designed for supervisory roles and personnel who need to understand the basic rules and rationale behind the comprehensive food safety program that the leafy greens industry pioneered, first in California and then in Arizona.
The Metrics 101 Training has been named a finalist for Best New Food Safety Solution at United Fresh 2017. It is another food safety training tool in the arsenal that includes the comprehensive Food Safety Training Kit (FSTK) a training tool that addresses safe food handling practices in the field. The bilingual program served as a model for creating uniform standards and practices under the FSMA Produce Rule. The program was designed to ensure compliance with federal regulations for food safety, including anticipated Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) standards