The Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety (NECAFS) recently announced its new online Produce Safety Handbook for Buyers. The handbook is formatted as an interactive website that clarifies the complex landscape of food safety regulations and standards across different states in the U.S. Northeast.

The Produce Safety Handbook helps produce buyers in the Northeast navigate each state's produce safety audit and inspection information. The site provides an interactive regional map, farm production statistics by state, a glossary of terms with common audit and inspection language, state inspection and audit information depicted with simple charts and tables, and regional content in a side-by-side display. States included in the handbook are: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland.

NECAFS is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) -funded Regional Center hosted by the University of Vermont Extension, led jointly with co-directors from Cornell University, the University of Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania State University, and in partnership with stakeholders from the Northeast region. The development of the handbook was funded by a Food Safety Outreach Program grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), after being identified as necessary for industry by the buyers’ workgroup at the 2019 NECAFS Annual Conference and Meeting.

Previously, NECAFS published an online food safety toolkit for food processors, tailored to small and very small processors that are required to comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).