U.S – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service has unveiled exciting new funding and educational initiatives under its renowned Produce Safety University (PSU) program, aimed at ensuring the safe and nutritious inclusion of fresh produce in school meals.

PSU, a “train-the-trainer” experiential learning platform, equips child nutrition professionals with essential tools and knowledge to implement proper produce safety practices in schools.

The program has a proven track record, with over 1,650 school nutrition professionals graduating since its inception in 2010 and, collectively, training over 70,000 individuals.

To further bolster the effectiveness of PSU, the USDA has announced a cooperative agreement opportunity for interested parties to review the PSU course’s curriculum and assess the impact of PSU graduates who train their peers in produce safety practices.

This initiative aims to refine the program’s offerings and measure its influence on enhancing food safety standards across schools.

Applications for the cooperative agreement opportunity must be submitted by August 21, 2023.

Virtual continuing education webinar

In addition to the cooperative agreement opportunity, PSU is set to introduce an engaging and informative virtual continuing education webinar on September 12, 2023, from 2–3 P.M. CT.

Aptly titled “Too Cool for School,” this webinar will focus on day-to-day food safety practices for walk-in coolers, the correct use of thermometers, and the essential techniques for properly cooling produce.

PSU instructors will lead the discussions, providing expert insights on all aspects of produce quality, safety, procurement, and preparation.

This valuable webinar is an excellent opportunity for professionals in the field to refresh their knowledge and stay up-to-date with best practices in food safety.

Registration information for the webinar will be shared in a future announcement, and attendees can look forward to a dynamic learning experience.

With PSU’s innovative “train-the-trainer” approach, child nutrition professionals become empowered leaders, equipped to pass on their knowledge and expertise to their peers and colleagues.

This cascading effect plays a crucial role in promoting safer food practices and fostering a culture of produce safety within school communities.

The USDA’s commitment to ongoing improvement through the cooperative agreement opportunity and the provision of continuing education webinars ensures that PSU remains at the forefront of promoting the health and well-being of students through safe and nutritious meals.

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