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The United Fresh Produce Association is adding four more Produce Inspection Training Program courses, including one installment in 2008 and three in 2009. The hands-on training sessions are designed to help produce industry receivers, handlers, buyers, shippers and sellers understand the fundamentals of the produce inspection process.
Developed by the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation in partnership with USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, the inspection training seminars provide a comprehensive overview of USDA inspection procedures and standards through lab training courses, classroom lectures and discussion sessions with USDA trainers. All seminars are taught by expert USDA trainers and held at the USDA Fresh Products Branch National Inspectors' Training and Development Center in Fredericksburg, Va.
"Understanding different grades, standards, quality and condition of produce commodities is fundamental to understanding the entire inspection process," said Victoria Backer, United Fresh Senior Vice President of Member Services. "This course provides real information, real training and real-world knowledge."
Since its inception in 2002, more than 540 industry professionals have participated in the program, with attendees consistently giving the course high marks in program evaluations.
Past participant Bob Ashcraft, distribution quality assurance manager with The Kroger Co., said, "My people at the Kroger distribution center make decisions on product shipping to over 265 stores, so the procurement staff needs quality training. This course provides them a solid review of the inspection process and principles."
The following course options are available in 2008 and 2009:
November 3-4, 2008 - Introduction to Produce Inspection (2 days)
November 5-7, 2008 - Advanced Produce Inspection Training (3 days)
January 26-27, 2009 - Introduction to Produce Inspection (2 days)
January 28-30, 2009 - Advanced Produce Inspection Training (3 days)
June 1-2, 2009 - Introduction to Produce Inspection (2 days)
June 3-5, 2009 Advanced Produce Inspection Training (3 days)
September 21-22, 2009 - Introduction to Produce Inspection (2 days)
September 23-25, 2009 - Advanced Produce Inspection Training (3 days)