Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management


Londa Nwadike
University of Missouri
Food Safety, Nutrition, Health & Physical Activity
(816) 482-5860

Produce Safety and Pesticide Safety Update

Londa Nwadike
University of Missouri
(816) 482-5860

July 31, 2023

minute read

The safety of the produce you grow, as well as the safety of those who grow the produce is always important. University of Missouri (MU) Extension is happy to help produce growers with both of these areas.

Produce safety is important to the buyers of your produce, to ensure that it is meeting market as well regulatory requirements. MU Extension can offer a number of different produce safety trainings in your community if you are interested. We can work with you to schedule a time that works for your community. To schedule a training program, please contact Patrick Byers with MU Extension by phone 417-859-2044, email byerspl@missouri.edu, your local MU Extension office, or send a letter to Patrick Byers 800 S. Marshall St, Marshfield, MO 65706.

Contact MU Extension if you are interested in organizing any of the following produce safety trainings:

FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) grower training. This is an 8 hour training that will provide trainees with a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) and will meet FSMA Produce Safety rule training requirements.

Produce Safety Annual Supervisor training. This is a ~90 minute training that will meet the annual training requirements of the FSMA Produce Safety rule. This training will also provide the latest updates on water quality and other aspects of the produce safety rule, which is useful if you have taken the full FSMA PSA training in the past or if you have not taken the FSMA PSA training yet.

Some of you may have heard that in December 2021, the US FDA proposed revised FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements for water used on produce farms. Those requirements have not been finalized yet. However, testing the microbial quality of the water that you use both pre-harvest and post-harvest in your produce operation is still important for meeting regulatory requirements and produce safety audits will also require microbial testing. MU Extension is continuing to provide free microbial water testing for produce growers throughout all of 2023. You can get the test kits from your local public health department and can also return the water samples to your local public health department. Please check with your local public health department to ensure that you get the sample there at the right time of day and ideally on a Monday-Wednesday to be sure that the laboratory accepts and tests the sample.

If a buyer is asking that your produce be GAP certified, MU Extension has a program where MU can directly pay the auditor up to half the cost of your USDA or Quality Fresh GAPs audits. You will pay the other half of the audit cost to the audit company. At this point, this program will last until August 2024. If you are interested in this, you can just tell your GAPs auditor that you would like to participate in MU Extension's GAPs cost share program.

MU Extension can also help answer any questions that you may have related to produce safety. Please contact

Londa Nwadike at (913) 307-7391 or Patrick Byers at (417) 859-2044 or mail at 800 S. Marshall St., Marshfield, MO 65706 if you have questions related to produce safety.

MU Extension is working with Kansas State University Extension to offer a new training course and technical assistance on the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Pesticide Safety regulations. WPS requirements are to protect those people working on your farm from exposure to pesticides that could be harmful to worker health. Farmers must comply with the EPA WPS if all three of the following apply:

  • You own or manage an agricultural establishment (i.e., farm, orchards, nurseries, greenhouses, etc.), and
  • Your work is directly related to producing agricultural plants, and
  • WPS-labeled pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, miticides, etc.) have been applied on your establishment within the last 30 days. WPS-labeled pesticides may be restricted-use pesticides or general-use pesticides. Look for the "Agricultural Use Requirements" box on the pesticide label (Figure 1).
pesticide label with zoomed in section

Figure 1 Example of "Agricultural Use Requirements" found on a pesticide label.

MU and KSU Extension are offering a WPS pesticide safety train-the-trainer at the Great Plains Growers Conference in St Joseph, MO, on Jan 11, 2024, from 10AM-5PM.

This training is important so that agricultural employers – including farms, orchards, nurseries, greenhouses and others – know what is expected of them related to pesticide applications and how to train their workers to be safe with pesticides. Participants will earn certification as a WPS trainer in order to train the people working on their farm to comply with EPA regulations for working with pesticides.

The WPS also provides information the specific pesticides used in the farm, where they are used, and what must be done to protect workers from exposure. The protections required include relevant Personal Protective Equipment, how to read and understand pesticide labels, signage and clear safety procedures. For more information on WPS and on the WPS Train-the-Trainer or to register for the free January workshop, contact Cal Jamerson of Kansas State University at 913-709-0281, email to agri@ksu.edu, or send a letter to Cal Jamerson, 22201 W Innovation Dr, Olathe, KS 66061. The workshops are available for free due to support by grant from the USDA Extension Risk Management Education program.

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REVISED: July 31, 2023