S12 Urban Agriculture/Farming and Food Safety

Monday, July 10, 2017: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Room 20-21 (Tampa Convention Center)
Sponsored By:
Primary Contact: Tong-Jen Fu
Organizers: Tong-Jen Fu and Patricia Millner
Convenors: Tong-Jen Fu and Patricia Millner
Innovative allocation and repurposing of urban land, buildings, and resources for agricultural production of fresh produce is rapidly emerging as a community-based approach to enhance food availability in urban cities.  Urban agriculture usually involves high intensity production in both indoor and outdoor environments.  Hydroponic systems utilizing multi-tiered plant growing systems are commonly used in urban farms. Increasingly, aquaponic systems are being employed to produce fresh fruits and vegetables using the wastewater generated from an aquaculture system. The aquaponic systems use the nutrients in the recirculating aquaculture water as the plant fertilizer for the growth of fresh produce.    

Food safety risks are invariably present in a mixed-commodity food production setting; yet many of these risks remain unknown or under-researched.  Information is needed regarding the risk from contaminated seeds or from irrigation water that has been recirculated and reused for extended periods of time.  Little or no information is available on the efficacy of current control strategies to prevent cross-contamination or prevent the persistence and survival of foodborne pathogens in these systems. Urban farms are usually owned by small to medium size enterprises or non-profit organizations that do not necessarily have the expertise or tools to address food safety issues and are in need of guidance with regards to hazard analysis, implementation of preventive controls, and regulatory compliance.

This symposium will provide an overview of production practices currently employed in urban agriculture/farming, summarize currently available food safety data, and discuss potential food safety risks that may be associated with these food production systems and practices.  How the requirements outlined in the recently issued produce safety rule apply to urban farms will be discussed.  The symposium will also feature perspectives from urban farm operators discussing the challenges in identifying potential food safety hazards and in meeting regulatory requirements.


10:30 AM
10:30 AM
Urban Farming:  Current Practices and Food Safety Considerations
Patricia Millner, USDA ARS Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory
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