Get on 2019 CAPS by April 1 — Now is the Time to Sign-up or Renew!

The 2019 CAPS registration deadline is Monday, April 1. 

VVBGA’s CAPS (Community Accreditation for Produce Safety) program is a voluntary, practical approach to documenting on-farm practices that reduce food safety risks. CAPS uses the capsvt.org platform to help growers to write and implement a produce safety plan, and then upload evidence documenting that implementation. Growers receive CAPS accreditation after a successful peer review of their Plan and verification documents.   See  “How to Participate”  time-line below, and …

  •  Click HERE to view the 18 requirements for CAPS certification.
  • Click HERE for more information on CAPS-Plus, the top-tier certificate program designed for larger regional market access.
  • Click HERE to register and pay the $100 fee for the  2019 CAPS Program and certificate.  Financial aid is available to make CAPS possible for all growers, regardless of size or income.
  • Questions?  Contact CAPS Coordinator Hans Estrin a hestrin@uvm.edu or phone/text  802 380 2109.

How to Participate in CAPS 2019

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Time to Finalize your 2018 CAPS Documents!

Are you one of the 113  VVBGA  growers  enrolled in the 2018 CAPS program?  If so,  it is time  to check  your scores and comments , revise as needed,  Finish your 2018/19 Farm Folder–You have until Dec 27 to finish!

Below screen shots (or PDF HERE) show how to view your scores and comments, and then revise, and finalize your CAPS documents :

CAPS Revision instructions 1  

Time to Finalize your 2018 CAPS Documents!

2018 CAPS Water Test due by July 15

Does your farm draw post-harvest water from a private well or spring?  If so, you need a 2018 water test showing this water is not contaminated with E.coli bacteria.

Bella Farm Monkton washing water supply tripple hostIf you need a 2018 test, do one of the following asap in the next couple weeks:

  1. Call the VT Dept. of Health Lab at 802-338-4724  and order an “NU” drinking water test  (Yes, old-school call is the best way to get one….trust me) .  This NU test costs $15, and it will cost another $22 to send it in overnight–$37 total for test and shipping.
  2. Contact me (CAPS Coordinator Hans Estrin) via email or text (hestrin@uvm.edu, 802 380 2109), and request a farm visit with water test before July 4.  No promises, but I may be able to arrive with a free NU test, and divide the overnight shipping cost with other farms in your area (seriously, how could you turn this down?)

And Just for fun, here is a pic of your water test being processed in the Burlington Lab!

DOH water test lab

 

CAPS Employee Training due by July 15!

All CAPS farms are required to have and follow a simple common sense Health and Hygiene (HH) policy, confirmed from their capsvt.org account by July 15.   CAPS farms with employees are further required to verify that employees have received HH training.

These three standards are included in this training, at a minimum:

  1. HAND WASHING: Workers must thoroughly wash hands, after going to the bathroom, before returning to work, or as needed.  Need entertainment? …Please feel free teach the method demonstrated in this totally unofficial demonstration of the 10-Cent Hand Wash.
  2. SICK POLICY: If sick, workers should take care, rest up to get better quick! If sick with symptoms of an infectious disease (i.e. fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice), workers should not handle raw-eaten produce. Workers should always contact a supervisor if sick, and decided the best course of action.
  3. FIRST AID: Workers must promptly treat cuts, abrasions, and other injuries, and report them. Bleeding must be stopped, and cuts covered and protected before continuing work.

All employees should be informed of this basic policy (verbal and written) during their initial training and sign that they have read and understand it. Returning employees during their yearly reorientation, may simply sign that they have reviewed and understand the policy. HH training can be very short and simple (see #13 instructions capsvt.org  or download CAPS #13 documents here. Farms are welcome to use these provided templates, or make their own.kid hand wash.JPG

Please contact Hans Estrin if you have any questions or need any help (hestrin@uvm.edu, or 802 380 2109).

 

2018 CAPS Plan Update

CAPS participation up 26% in 2018

During the Winter and Spring, 135  growers  registered on the CAPS site, and at least started plans.  By the April deadline, 113 farms signed up for CAPS and submitted their  produce safety plans for review.

This participation is  26% greater than in 2017 (up from 90 farms).  We have 30 farms new to CAPS in 2018, and only lost 7 farm from last year.

CAPS Plan REVIEW

In addition to the coordinator, 20 individuals total (15 CAPS farmers and 5 Service providers) volunteered for the 2018 CAPS Review Team.  during the April -early May review period, thes reviewers score against the 12 CAPS standards and comment on all submitted plans.  The coordinator scored all 91 plans, and each reviewer scored 5-6 plans.  Thus each submitted CAPS plan gets two independent reviews.

 

CAPS Plan REVISION

CAPS Produce Safety Plans can be revised and finalized between May 11 and June 11, 2018!

 

Contact coordinator Hans Estrin (hestrin@uvm.edu , or 802 380 2109) for assistance.

All Vermont Growers should get on Produce Safety by April 1!

Regardless of size and markets, ALL produce growers should identify and limit food safety risks within their operations.  Here are three steps for Vermont growers to get on board:

Step-1-– ALL growers write a CAPS Plan by April 1–This is free for VVBGA members and only takes a few hours at capsvt.org !

Step 2--Get a CAPS Certificate—For a 3-party review of your plan, and a CAPS Certificate of best practices, register for CAPS by April1, and complete the program by November 1. ($100 fee)

Step 3--Get a CAPS-PLUS Certificate if  your market requires a third-party on-farm audit, email Hans at hestrin@uvm.edu if interested.

For more information and photos, see CAPS overview HERE .

To be eligible for the CAPS or CAPS-Plus certificate,  You must submit your produce safety plan and pay the $10O fee** HERE by April 1, 2018

  • If you miss this deadline, you need to wait till next year …so DON’T wait until the last minute!  And don’t stress because this is only a ROUGH draft—you will have the merry month of May to revise it!
  • Just starting CAPS?  Create and account and draft a new CAPS Plan (takes about 2-4 hours) at capsvt.org .
  • Renewing CAPS?  Simply review/revise your existing plan from last year and submit!

Instructions for tasks to complete by April 1:

  1. If you have yet to, create and account at capsvt.org  and set up your farm folder.  This is free, easy and only takes a couple minutes. DO THIS NOW if possible…so you can get on our auto reminder list!
  1. If you have yet to, complete  the CAPS on-line produce safety plan -This is a guided short-answer survey to describe your current practices.  If renewing CAPS, simply review/revise your existing plan.
  1. Submit this plan for review by April 1 at the latest!!  Please submit your draft plan even if you don’t want a CAPS certificate.
  1. If you have yet to, register here for CAPS by April 1 and pay the $100 fee**—this will make you official—and is a separate step from creating an account!

** technical and financial assistance is available to help make CAPS equally accessible for all VVBGA members—email Hans for more info.

Feel free to contact me any time—I am here to support you with CAPS!

Hans Estrin

VVBGA CAPS Coordinator–Produce Safety Specialist, UVM Extension Brattleboro Office

Office:802 257 7967, Cell: 802 380 2109

 

CAPS Employee Training due July 17!

All CAPS farms are required to have and follow a simple common sense Health and Hygiene (HH) policy, confirmed from their capsvt.org account by July 17.   CAPS farms with employees are further required to verify that employees have received HH training.

These three standards are included in this training, at a minimum:

  1. HAND WASHING: Workers must thoroughly wash hands, after going to the bathroom, before returning to work, or as needed.  Need entertainment? …Please feel free teach the method demonstrated in this totally unofficial demonstration of the 10-Cent Hand Wash.
  2. SICK POLICY: If sick, workers should take care, rest up to get better quick! If sick with symptoms of an infectious disease (i.e. fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice), workers should not handle raw-eaten produce. Workers should always contact a supervisor if sick, and decided the best course of action.
  3. FIRST AID: Workers must promptly treat cuts, abrasions, and other injuries, and report them. Bleeding must be stopped, and cuts covered and protected before continuing work.

All employees should be informed of this basic policy (verbal and written) during their initial training and sign that they have read and understand it. Returning employees during their yearly reorientation, may simply sign that they have reviewed and understand the policy. HH training can be very short and simple (see #13 instructions capsvt.org  or download CAPS #13 documents here. Farms are welcome to use these provided templates, or make their own.kid hand wash.JPG

Please contact Hans Estrin if you have any questions or need any help (hestrin@uvm.edu, or 802 380 2109).

 

2017 CAPS Plan Review and Revision

CAPS participation up 44% in 2017

During the Winter and Spring, 125 growers  registered on the CAPS site, and at least started plans.  By April 9th deadline, 91 farms signed up for CAPS accreditation (registered and paid the $100 fee) and submitted their  produce safety plans for review.

This participation is  44% greater than in 2016 (up from 63 farms)!

CAPS Plan REVIEW

In addition to the coordinator, 17 individuals total (13 CAPS farmers and 4 Service providers) volunteered for the 2017 CAPS Review Team.  Over the next 2 weeks, the reviewers and the coordinator scored and comment on all of the 91 submitted plans.  The coordinator scored all 91 plans, and each reviewer scored 5-6 plans.  Thus each submitted CAPS plan gets two independent reviews.

The quality of draft CAPS plans improved significantly over 2016.  Over 60% of plans scored 100%, and only 3% have  major revisions to do.

2017 Revision stats

CAPS Plan REVISION

CAPS Produce Safety Plans can be revised and finalized between May 5 and June 5!

Each  plan has now been review and scored by two reviewers. Scores and comments are now available to farmers from their CAPS account.

To their review and scores, farmers log in at capsvt.org, go to “Produce Safety Plan” from home screen, and click on “View Reviewer Comments” below the link to your 2017 plan (see screen shot below). This will open a pop-up window with personal scores and comments.

If farmers received one or more “No” scores, they are required within 30 days to revise their plan.

If their plan receives a perfect score and they are satisfied with it (all “Yes”‘s or “NA”‘s),  farmers should submit it NOW or asap.

Once submitted, these finalized plans will be linked to farmers on-line CAPS farm folder, which they can choose to share with others.

To revise and/or submit finalized plan, from the Produce Safety Plan start page, simply click on “Create or Edit Plan” link to open the plan. When you are happy with your plan, submit it from the plan’s final input page.

CAPS reviewer comments

Contact coordinator Hans Estrin (hestrin@uvm.edu , or 802 380 2109) for assistance.

2017 CAPS Instructions

Eventbrite photo

BREAKING NEWS!!  YOU GET A BREATHER!! 

CAPS PRODUCE SAFETY PLAN Submission DEADLINE  has been postponed 1 week–to April 7 at midnight!

How to get started with CAPS:

  • CLICK HERE  to check out a few slides showing what CAPS gets you.
  • NEW to CAPS?    …Just start an account at capsvt.org and explore for free!
  • To use CAPS to write and share your Produce Safety Plan, please join the VVBGA for $35/$45! VVBGA members get the CAPS platform, with personal Farm Folder and Share Page, for free.

 How to get a CAPS Certificate (New or Renewal):

  • Log in at capsvt.org and draft or revise your PRODUCE SAFETY PLAN by April 7th  (Renewing CAPS farms just revise existing plan).
  • Officially REGISTER FOR CAPS HERE and pay the $100 annual CAPS certification fee, by April 1st.Financial and technical assistance is available- contact coordinator for more information.
  • Get feedback on your plan and finalize it by June 7th.
  • By Nov. 1st, submit six additionally documents -required to show implementation of your plan–Each of below is linked to a more detailed description.
  1. Employee Training Verification (13)
  2. Manure Management Records (14)
  3. Farm Container Photos and Management (15)
  4. Water Test Record (16)
  5. Wash Line photos and SOP (17)
  6. Cold Storage Photos (18)
  • By Nov. 16th, receive a review of completeness from a team of farmers and agricultural service providers.
  • Take four weeks to fix any problems or add missing elements.
  • Become accredited for the following year. At the end of each year you  ‘roll over’ your plan, making changes as necessary.

Questions about CAPS?

Contact UVM Extension’s CAPS program coordinator, Hans Estrin– hestrin@uvm.edu or (802) 380-2109 (phone or text)