|Current Research and Extension||
Date Last Edited: 08/24/2001
TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND APPLICATION - FOOD SAFETY AND QUALITY
Hodgson A, Nakamura-Tengan L, Nishijima W
The objective of this project is to provide informational and educational programs to help food handlers, agricultural production personnel, and consumers minimize the risks to human health from harmful microbiological pathogens in the food supply.
1. Agricultural Production
Efforts were continued to familiarize producers of fresh fruits and vegetables to the Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for fresh Fruits and Vegetables. The primary tool used was a slide presentation that was developed that gives an overview of the "Guide". Growers were also introduced to free WEB-based tools that growers, packers and others could use to conduct self-audits of their operations (ranch, harvest crew, packing house, and cold storage) as well as tools to develop their own "manuals" of Good Agricultural Practices. Because County agents were also identified as needing training in Food Safety, a 1-day workshop was conducted to train county agents and specialist with responsibility for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Training was conducted as follows: Date Group Remarks 11/22/99 Oahu Banana Growers Assoc. Overview of the "Guide" 11/23/00 Kauai Farm Bureau Display, leaflets, etc. at Membership Day 3/8/00 Hawaii Farm Bureau Teleconference on Food Safety Issues 4/27/00 County Agents, specialists, etc Food Safety Workshop 4/28/00 Hawaii Banana Industry Assoc. Overview of the "Guide"; Web-based tools 5/10/00 Kohala Farm Bureau Overview of the "Guide"; Web-based tools 6/15/00 Big Island Banana Growers Overview of the "Guide"; Web-based tools 7/20/00 Hilo County Farm Bureau Overview of the "Guide"; Web-based tools
2. Commercial Food Processing
The national certification courses, Better Process Control School, HACCP (seafood and meat & poultry), and the new Seafood Sanitation Control Procedures, were conducted. Attendees received all courses very well. About 80 professionals were certified.
Food Technology Extension program also continued to conduct courses on prerequisite programs to HACCP with processors increasingly accepting these programs as a necessity to a successful implementation of their HACCP plan. About 20 companies requested selected courses for their employees.
Courses directed at the foodservice industry were also conducted. The newly developed videotape, DO IT RIGHT!, will be taught to entry-level foodhandlers as a self-contained educational material. Its effectiveness will be evaluated for future project development and improvement. When the accompanying written manual is completed, its effectiveness with the videotape will also be evaluated. This will be the first statewide educational material for the foodservice industry.
Strategic planning sessions were informally conducted with the leaders of several food processing industry associations. As expected, business issues such as marketing, were considered to be their highest priorities. It was decided that Food Technology Extension program continue to advise the associations in matters of food science and technology.
Consumer Food Safety education programs focused on at-risk populations, pre-schoolers and seniors. Nine food safety training sessions were conducted for 75 child care providers, youth agency staff and senior center staff. As part of National Food Safety Education Month 2000, presentations were held for seven pre-schools reaching approximately 225 preschoolers and their parents. An additional 125 parents received informational packets only. The ten pre-school staff received food safety instructional materials to educate students about keeping things clean and handwashing. A written follow-up with pre-schools is in progress. Based on initial feedback, these presentations were helpful in increasing awareness and use of safe food handling practices such as handwashing, keeping things clean and prompt refrigeration.
Approximately 130 seniors and adults attended food safety workshops through senior center sites and the KHAO Homeless Resource Center. All participants reported gaining new information. Ninety percent indicated a willingness to adopt one to three of the recommended food safety education practices.
A statewide Consumer Food and Nutrition Helpline was established in July 2000. Consumers statewide can contact a centralized telephone and e-mail system with questions about food safety, local fruits and vegetables, and general nutrition. In the initial two months 25% of the 56 calls answered by the five Extension agents statewide were in response to food safety or food preservation questions.
The "Be Safe: A Home Guide to Help Keep Food Safe" is available in print and accessible through the CTAHR website. Other food safety resources and website links is under construction through the CTAHR Lifeskills in Food Education website. This should be accessible soon.
Other general food safety education was provided through quarterly articles in the Maui News. Newspapers statewide also published an article featuring September as National Food Safety Education Month. A television PSA aired during September 2000 on Akaku, the public access station on Maui, promoted Food Safety Education Month and the new statewide Consumer Food and Nutrition Helpline.
A Farm to Table Food Safety Exhibit was developed and used at community events such as the Ulupalakua Trade Show, Kaahumanu Safety Fair, and Public Health Awareness week. An interactive display was also developed and used by the 10 senior congregate meal sites. These community events reached over 3500 residents and visitors.
HAWAIIAN HOMES EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM
1) To provide educational and training programs to improve the HHL farmer's knowledge in agricultural production and farm management practices. To upgrade agricultural skills and techniques of farmers.
2) To develop and promote community and leadership development programs for HHL farmers and farm families.
The agent has provided educational training programs for native Hawaiian homesteaders through workshops and informational meetings in Grafting and Air Layering of Tropical Fruit Trees, Awa Production, Low Cost Rainshelter Construction, Animal Waste Management, Plant Disease and Insect Clinic, and developed a Beef Carcass Quality video shown at a Homestead Beef Quality Workshop. As a result of the beef quality workshop, the Homestead Beef Marketing Alliance was formed to coordinate a consistent supply of quality homestead beef to the expanding forage finished beef market. Field trips to Experiment Stations and Waimea Farmers Market, along with demonstration crop production projects were conducted to assist Makuu Homestead Association farmers in their plans for the development of a community farmers market.The agent, as a member of the DHHL Agricultural Task Force, contributed to the development of a strategic plan to promote increased land utilization of homestead farm lots. Recommendations of increased educational assistance, infrastructure development, financial assistance, and land use issues were accepted by the Hawaiian Homes Commission in July 2000. In response to one of the recommendations of the strategic plan, the agent is co-producing an informational video about the assistance programs available to new homestead farmers through the CES-HHL Agricultural Program.
HYPERMEDIA INFORMATION SYSTEM
The overall goal is to develop information resources accessible by extension personnel, growers, and the public. The specific objectives are:
1) Develop the farmer's bookshelf information system for the world wide web to provide timely information and greater access by clientele.
2) Develop files for landscape trees, guava, and taro and update the papaya file for the world wide web to provide a wider range of information to clientele.
3) Develop the extension publication landscape, floriculture, and ornamentals news (replacing horticulture digest) for the world wide web to provide on-line access to a broader group of clientele.
4) Conduct workshops for faculty, specialists, and agents to use, create, and customize files in the farmer's bookshelf to familiarize clientele with on-line information systems.
The Farmer's Bookshelf (FB) web site had approximately 19,800 hits since it was put on the WWW. In addition to providing information on fruit, vegetable, and ornamental crops, the FB was again expanded in the features it offers. We added a link to the Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service for their monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual reports on various crops. We also added a link to the Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database, recently developed by a TPSS graduate student as part of her graduate program. A section on dictionaries and glossaries of horticulture and gardening was included in the FB. Agricultural news items from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Honolulu Advertiser, Pacific Business News, and Ku Lama were updated daily or weekly (Ku Lama). The section on upcoming events, including local, national, and international agriculturally-related scientific and commodity meetings in Hawaii was updated weekly. The upcoming local events included classes related to agriculture and gardening. These were obtain from the above sources as well as the MidWeek and the Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau websites. The list of web sites of local agricultural organizations and mainland organizations with local affiliation was updated as these sites were found, e.g., Pacific Seed Association and the Western Crop Protection Association. Links to on-line agricultural publications were periodically updated and changed, providing a wide range of publications to stakeholders. Issues 6, 7, and 8 of the extension publication "Landscape, Floriculture, and Ornamental News" were put on the web. We redid the front end (main page) of the FB to make it easier to navigate and to give it a new "look." The sections on banana and avocado were completed. The coffee section is currently being updated.
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