Food System Emergency Preparedness Training Offered to PA Agricultural Industry

Free Training Offered Jan. 21 and 22; SAFE Initiative Recommends Industry Education

HARRISBURG – Two courses designed to help Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry, emergency responders and public health officials plan for, detect and protect against agroterrorism threats are now open for enrollment, said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff today.

The courses, “Principles of Preparedness for Agroterrorism and Food Systems’ Disasters” and “Principles of Detection and Diagnosis – Strategies and Technologies,” will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 21 and Thursday, Jan. 22, respectively, at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture building, 2301 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg.

“Everyone plays a role in assuring the safety of our food supply,” said Wolff. “Our modern food system is complex. It relies on farmers, processors and distributors to keep food safe for consumers. It also relies on emergency responders and public health officials to coordinate outreach efforts if food safety is compromised.

“All of these groups must work together and be prepared to recognize and respond to agroterrorism threats to help ensure the continued health of all Pennsylvanians.”

The training is provided by the state Department of Agriculture, U.S. Office of Homeland Security, and the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS) at the University of California, Davis.

Wolff said the courses are in line with a recommendation from the Strategy for Agriculture and Food Excellence, or SAFE initiative, a comprehensive plan to address food safety and defense from the farm to the fork.

“The SAFE initiative is part of our commitment to protecting public health through a safe, nutritious and abundant food supply,” said Wolff. “The initiative will help us gather invaluable information to develop consumer-focused food safety and security protocols and practices and facilitate cooperation among federal, regional, state and local efforts.”

SAFE is a cooperative effort between the Pennsylvania departments of Agriculture and Health, in coordination with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, as well as input from food processors, retailers and health officials.

Space for the training sessions is limited, and reservations are required. Lunch will be provided.

To register online, or for more information, visit wifss.ucdavis.edu and click on “Agroterrorism/Food Systems Training” and then “Classes by Date.” Select “Flyer” next to each of the Pennsylvania classes for more information, or “Register” to register for the courses.

To register by phone, contact Derek Ruhl at 717-783-3577.

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