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Craig Kahlke, Cornell University fruit quality management extension specialist, helps New York apple grower Kevin Bowman draft his food safety plan Tuesday at the Empire State Producers conference in Syracuse, New York.  (Ross Courtney/Good Fruit Grower)

Craig Kahlke, Cornell University fruit quality management extension specialist, helps New York apple grower Kevin Bowman draft his food safety plan Tuesday at the Empire State Producers conference in Syracuse, New York.
(Ross Courtney/Good Fruit Grower)

No more theory. No more hypothetical examples.

Four apple growers, as well as a few vegetable farmers, drafted their real-life food safety plans Tuesday with the guidance of industry experts during one of the workshops at the Empire State Producers conference in Syracuse, New York.

The day-long workshop, sponsored by the Produce Safety Alliance, gave about 15 growers a chance to apply training with the hands-on session, which walked them through drafting their own food safety plan, required by many Good Agricultural Practices, or GAP, auditing agencies and companies.

Growers large and small face pressure from customers to participate in third-party audits that verify their use of safe food growing and handling methods to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Tuesday’s workshop used the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s GAP standards, for which several state departments of agriculture audit. Many private companies offer the service for different GAP programs.

The conference continues Wednesday and Thursday with tree fruit sessions on Honeycrisp apples, orchard technology, mitigating weather risks and transplant production.