Mission, Texas, October 5, 2016: Plantation Produce Company, a South Texas grower, shipper, packer, hosted USDA Cochran Fellowship participants for U.S. Food Safety System Policies and Functions Training Program designed to train government regulatory officials to learn about and ultimately incorporate into the draft Food Safety Law internationally-recognized food safety standards.
Led by Thomas Hall of Borlaug Institute and Dr. Juan Anciso of Texas A&M, Ha Vinh Nguyen, Vice Chairman Committee on Science, Technology & Environment, Dung Tran Xuan, Official for Policies & Legislation, Hoa Tran Ngoc, Deputy Director, National Assembly Office, Suu Tien Nguyen, Official for Policies & Legislation and USDA/FAS Huong Thi Bui visited Plantation Produce Company. They toured and received a hands-on training at the facility.
During the two week period of the training, the delegates received training from USDA/Food Safety Inspection Service, U.S. Codex Office, Agricultural Marketing Service, APHIS, FDA and EPA. Plantation Produce was chosen as the hands-on site for produce food safety packing facility.
As a part of their training, the delegates also visited Sanderson Farms Inc. (Large Commercial Poultry Processing Facility, Trident Seafood Processing Facility (The largest seafood company in America), Pike Place Market, and Costco.
Plantation Produce Company
Plantation Produce Company is a grower, packer, shipper of conventional and organic greens, onions, squashes, peppers, beets and cilantro. Plantation Produce Company farms over 2500 acres of conventional land and 825 acres of USDA certified organic farm in South Texas. The farm and the 78,000 sq ft facility is certified organically by Natures International Certification Services and is under the Global GAP Primus GFS Scheme.
Since its start in 1984, the Cochran Program has provided training for more than 16,300 fellows from more than 120 countries. The program is named for U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi.
Cochran fellows come to the United States, generally for 2-3 weeks, to work with U.S. universities, government agencies and private companies. They receive hands-on training to enhance their technical knowledge and skills in areas related to agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy and marketing. The program’s objective was to:
- U.S. Regulatory and private sector roles in ensuring the safety of food products
- Food safety standards for all food products: meat, poultry, fresh fruits/vegetables, seafood
- Regulation, management system relating to packaging, labeling and traceability of food products
- Impact of food safety standards to producers and consumers
- Inspection of food products from farm to table
- Harmonizing food safety with international standards
- Regulation of GMO products, including microbial contamination
- Compliance and enforcement of veterinary drugs