D3: Food Safety and the Garden to Cafeteria Connection
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D3: Food Safety and the Garden to Cafeteria Connection

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Presented by Ashley Chaifetz, "Growing Safer Gardens," ...

Presented by Ashley Chaifetz, "Growing Safer Gardens,"
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
with Julie Skolmowski and Blair Currier

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  • 1. 1  
  • 2. While  many  people  tend  to  think  of  industrial-­‐sized  outbreaks  like  those  of  Jensen  Farms’  cantaloupes  or  Wright  County  egg,  there  many  recalls  and  outbreaks  that  stem  from  smaller  farms  and  companies.  AddiAonally,  incidences  of  outbreak  have  emerged  from  the  direct-­‐to-­‐consumer  channels.  They  have  occurred  as  recently  as  the  summer  of  2011.  Deer  droppings  on  strawberries  from  a  small  farm  in  Oregon  led  to  a  five-­‐county  E.  coli  O157:H7  outbreak;  its  strawberries  sold  predominately  at  roadside  stands.      CDC:  hOp://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/  Oregon  confirms  deer  droppings  caused  E.  coli  outbreak  Aed  to  strawberries.  (2011,  August  17).  Americas  Intelligence  Wire.  Retrieved  from  hOp://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA264575147&v=2.1&u=unc_main&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w       2  
  • 3. Unwashed  hands  that  bring  pathogens  to  the  garden.  Animal  feces  (domesAc  and  wild).  Cross-­‐contaminaAon  with  unsaniAzed  tools  and  harvest  containers.     3  
  • 4. 4  
  • 5. You  can’t  see  contaminaAon  in  the  garden.  And  if  crops  like  tomatoes  or  cucumbers-­‐-­‐things  that  you  eat  raw—have  Salmonella  or  E.  coli—there’s  no  way  to  cook  it  out.  And,  unfortunately,  not  everyone  has  informaAon  about  pathogen  prevenAon—it’s  not  even  on  the  radar  of  most  garden  managers  I’ve  met.      In  an  aOempt  to  answer  quesAons,  we  found  that  there’s  liOle  readily  available  informaAon  that  is  scaled  to  garden-­‐level.  So,  with  Dr  Ben  Chapman,  we  created  a  document  that  would  help  out  all  the  garden  managers  and  volunteers  to  make  sure  their  garden  is  as  safe  as  possible.       5  
  • 6. I’m  sure  you’ve  heard  all  kinds  of  things  about  the  crazy  poliAcs  in  NC.  But  this  is  different.  All  of  the  fruit  and  vegetables  that  are  served  in  the  cafeteria  must  come  from  a  GAP-­‐cerAfied  farm  (as  per  Department  of  Public  InstrucAon).  What  that  means  is  that  the  produce  from  the  gardens  in  NC  cannot  be  served  in  the  cafeteria.      That  doesn’t  mean  that  the  students  are  not  eaAng  it.  The  barriers  are  just  different.    Gejng  food  from  the  garden  into  the  cafeteria  is  THE  barrier.  That’s  why  this  project  began.  And  the  benefits  of  the  school  garden  are  vast.      We’ve  got  hopes-­‐-­‐that  by  making  sure  the  gardens  are  the  safest  possible,  then  these  kinds  of  policies  might  shik.               6  
  • 7. So,  we  started  with  GAP.      To  clarify,  GAP  stands  for  good  agricultural  pracAces—food  safety  guidelines  for  American  farms  that  can  choose  to  follow  in  addiAon  to  the  regulaAons  set  forth  by  the  USDA.  To  become  GAP-­‐cerAfied,  a  farm  must  go  through  an  audit  in  which  it  proves  that  it  has  completed  a  laundry  list  of  items  related  to  soil,  water,  animal  producAon,  employee  hygiene,  sanitaAon.  To  create  a  document  for  food  safety  in  gardens,  we  had  to  start  with  GAP  audit,  to  see  what  the  details  were  on  food  distribuAon  in  NC  cafeterias.    The  USDA  guide  is  based  on  the  FDA’s  “Guide  to  Minimize  Microbial  Food  Safety  Hazards  for  Fresh  Fruits  and  Vegetables,”  known  colloquially  as  GAP.    We  eventually  focused  on  8  areas:  handwashing,  site  selecAon,  garden  design  (fencing  and  pests),  compost,  water,  soil,  tools  +  sanitaAon,  and  volunteer  know-­‐how.  But  how  the  document  was  created  is  the  important  part.                      GAP  Audit  Checklist:  hOp://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/gerile?dDocName=STELPRDC5091326   7  
  • 8. This  is  how  we  did  it.      I  visited  a  lot  of  gardens-­‐-­‐13,  in  5  counAes.  And  asked  the  garden  managers  quesAons—about  the  “story  of  the  garden-­‐-­‐”  how  it  came  to  be,  why  the  pracAces  in  place  were  chosen  (organic  versus  not-­‐organic  versus  preOy-­‐much-­‐organic),  types  of  soil,  rain  cisterns  and  barrels  and  municipal  water,  about  fencing  and  the  cost  of  the  installaAon,  about  why  they  chose  teacher-­‐driven  plots  versus  one  big  school  garden,  about  compost  and  how  they  maintain  it  and  how  they  knew  it  was  cooked  enough,  about  the  garden  clubs,  about  hand  saniAzer,  about  the  very-­‐different  barriers  that  plague  the  community  gardens  versus  the  school  gardens.  We  even  teamed  up  with  a  person  at  DPI  to  meet  the  garden  managers  as  she  spoke  to  the  cafeteria  managers  about  the  school  breakfast  and  lunch  program,  taking  me  hundreds  of  miles  from  my  house  to  talk  to  more  garden  managers.      Hundreds  of  miles  later  and  tons  of  handwriOen  notes  later,  I  looked  at  the  academic  literature.  I  examined  it  for  similariAes,  for  fact-­‐checking  to  see  if  there  was  truth  to  a  lot  of  the  “old  wives’  tales”  I’d  heard  in  the  field.  Some  were  valid;  some  were  not.      I  also  had,  on  my  team,  in  addiAon  to  Dr  Chapman  (the  food  safety  extension  specialist  at  NC  State  and  NC  CooperaAve  Extension),  a  fruit  and  vegetable  specialist,  experts  in  nutriAon  and  health,  soil  scienAsts,  people  who  specialize  in  youth  development  and  volunteer  management.  And  many  members  of  the  team  were  more  than  well-­‐versed  in  a  variety  of  these  things.           8  
  • 9. Armed  with  a  prototype  of  the  document’s  contents,  I  went  back  into  the  field  to  talk  to  more  garden  managers.  I  asked  them  for  advice,  for  opinions  on  the  suggesAons  we  hoped  to  make,  about  language  and  feasibility.  As  in,  if  you  read  “you  must  take  the  temperature  of  the  compost”  before  you  use  it,  would  you  do  it?  Would  you  get  a  compost  thermometer?  (They  are  only  about  $25  but  you’ve  sAll  got  to  get  one.)    And  then,  I  went  back  to  the  team.  Many  months  later,  I’ve  got  a  finished  document  (which  we  am  now  talking  to  garden  managers  about—26  NEW  gardens  this  summer).    Overall,    This  is  how  we  did  it.  1.  Recognized  the  issue.    2.  Went  to  all  kinds  of  gardens  and  met  with  the  managers  and  heard  about  their   issues.    3.  Read  the  academic  literature.  4.  Talked  to  soil  scienAsts,  fruit  and  veggie  specialists,  youth  development  experts,   compost  specialists.  5.  Wrote  up  the  document.    6.  Went  back  to  the  garden  managers,  7.  Edited.  A  lot.  Talked  to  even  more  people.   9  
  • 10. What’s  in  there?    I’ll  go  through  all  of  the  contents,  but  you  can  also  find  it  at  growingsafergardens.com  and  there  are  hard  copies.   10  
  • 11. It’s  really  a  lot  of  best  pracAces.  However,  not  every  garden  can  do  ALL  of  the  best  pracAces,  so  there  are  alternaAve  as  well—other  ways  to  miAgate  risk.      SITE  SELECTION:    BP  (Best  pracAce):  The  best  pracAce  is  to  obtain  the  history  of  the  site  from  planning  officials  and  determine  whether  the  garden  site  is  suitable.    If  NOT:  Ask  the  community.  Ask  the  cooperaAon  extension  agent.       11  
  • 12. HANDWASHING.  This  is  one  of  the  most  important.  CDC  says  50%  of  food-­‐borne  illnesses  are  linked  to  poor  handwashing.  Washing  your  hands  is  the  best  way  to  prevent  Norovirus.        BP:  The  best  pracAce  is  to  wash  your  hands  with  soap  and  clean,  running  water  and  dry  using  one-­‐use  only  towel.    IF  NOT:  If  there  is  no  running  water  available,  wear  disposable,  single-­‐use  gloves  while  harvesAng.  If  the  task  is  maintenance-­‐only,  tradiAonal  gardening  gloves  are  recommended.     12  
  • 13. WATER  AND  IRRIGATION:  Worries  on  non-­‐potable  water—it  could  be  the  rain  barrel  or  the  well.    BP:  Use  regulated,  treated  water  source.  Water  authoriAes  employ  filtraAon,  chlorinaAon  and  tesAng  to  ensure  it  meets  EPA  standards.  IF  NOT:  If  a  well  or  cistern,  have  the  water  tested  to  see  if  it  is  up  to  standards  before  using  on  edibles,  or  hands.  This  is  a  big  minimizer  of  potenAal  microbial  contaminaAon  of  fruits  and  vegetables.       13  
  • 14. The  barrels  and  cisterns  can  easily  be  tested  for  Salmonella  and  E.  coli.     14  
  • 15. I  have  yet  to  visit  a  garden  that  was  not  composAng  in  some  way:  cold,  hot,  leaf.    COMPOST:  There  are  at  least  3  food  safety  issues  here.      1.  Take  the  temperature.  It  must  be  at  least  130F  for  5  days  to  cook  out  the  pathogens.      2.  AddiAonally,  placement  can  be  problemaAc.  In  NC,  with  the  hurricanes  and  heavy  rains,  we  see  a  lot  of  flooding,  and  suggest  building  the  compost  downhill  to  keep  the  contents  from  flowing  into  the  garden  in  the  event  of  a  flood.  OR  barriers  or  French  drains  can  be  used  to  keep  the  contents  from  entering  the  garden.    3.  Lastly,  manure.  While  animal  manure  has  long  been  considered  an  acceptable  material  to  compost  (the  Environmental  ProtecAon  Agency  includes  it  on  a  list  of  safe  materials),  it  is  not  recommended  due  to  its  strong  connecAon  to  pathogens  like  E.  coli.  Extra  steps  must  then  be  taken  to  guarantee  the  safety  of  the  finished  compost.      *If  the  garden  accepts  compost  from  another  source  but  wants  to  maintain  an  organic  garden,  it  is  imperaAve  to  ask  what  kinds  of  materials  are  in  the  mixture.       15  
  • 16. GARDEN  DESIGN:  Keep  out  pests.  Animal  feces  can  bring  pathogenic  E.  coli,  Campylobacter,  Shigella,  and  Salmonella,  among  other  foodborne  illness-­‐causing  microorganisms.  (Remember-­‐-­‐we  saw  an  E.  coli  outbreak  in  Oregon  last  summer  from  deer  poop  on  strawberries—remember  you  can’t  wash  it  off.)  BP:  Use  a  fence  to  keep  out  deer.  Electric  fences  help  with  all  sorts  of  pests,  but  are  more  expensive  (and  there  is  an  physical  safety  issue  at  stake  with  the  school  gardens).    IF  NOT:  Use  repellents  and  sprays  to  keep  out  the  known  pests.  Maintain  records  and  try  to  keep  animals  out  of  the  garden.         16  
  • 17. SANITATION  AND  TOOLS:  We’re  worried  about  cross-­‐contaminaAon.  BP:  Use  single-­‐use  gloves  when  harvesAng  and  put  the  harvest  into  clean,  saniAzed  containers.  (saniAze  with  1  tsp  of  bleach  per  gallon  water)    OR  You  can  wash  your  hands  when  contaminated.  And  if  you’re  unsure  of  the  cleanliness  of  the  containers,  new  plasAc  bags  are  a  great  opAon.    Clean.  Wash  hands,  cujng  boards,  utensils,  and  countertops.  You  wouldn’t  go  a  restaurant  without  a  clean  kitchen;  you  shouldn’t  use  a  a  dirty  uAlity  knife  to  cut  the  garden  harvest  either.               17  
  • 18. There’s  a  lot  of  enthusiasm  for  gardens  these  days.  The  local  food-­‐service  provider  gave  9  gardens  in  the  school  district  where  I  live  approximately  $2000  for  each  garden—to  use  in  any  way  they  saw  fit.  I’ve  seen  25-­‐tree  orchards,  new  fences,  compost  tumblers,  all  sorts  of  things  beyond  the  seeds  and  soil.      A  lot  of  gardens  are  really  on  top  of  it.  Some  garden  managers  spend  a  lot  of  Ame  thinking  about  food  safety  and  the  prevenAon  of  pathogens  and  contaminaAon.      It’s  a  really  smart  place  to  think  about  reducing  risk  BEFORE  it  gets  to  the  kitchen  (either  at  home  or  in  the  cafeteria).    And  we  love  the  idea  of  gardens  as  suppliers,  but  there’s  the  liability  issue.    So,  what  now?     18  
  • 19. We  went  back  out  there—evaluaAng  how  the  tool  works.      In  the  25  NEW  gardens  that  my  colleague  and  I  visited  this  summer,  we  asked  more  quesAons.  Specifics  from  the  document,  with  plans  to  return  in  the  fall  and  see  how  it  all  fell  out,  to  see  whether  the  gardens  implemented  the  curriculum.      We’ve  had  an  incredible  response.  Everyone  has  been  very  welcoming,  even  as  we  talk  about  poop,  and  interested  in  the  guidelines.  It’s  being  incorporated  into  classes  (who  take  the  temperature  of  the  compost  for  a  science  course),  in  fact,  it  supports  of  all  kinds  of  STEM  acAviAes:  designing  beds  as  part  of  the  engineering  curriculum;  employing  math  skills  to  calculate  fencing;  growing  plants  in  a  biotechnology  lab;  counAng  the  number  of  eggs  hatched  by  hens.             19  
  • 20. This  is  where  you  can  find  the  document—the  enhanced  version  with  all  sorts  of  links—plus  other  garden  resources,  like  grants  and  arAcles  on  gardening  pracAces.     20  
  • 21. 21