The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will begin inspecting produce farms for compliance with federal food safety regulations this year through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The inspections are part of the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act's Produce Safety Rule to better protect public health by focusing food safety efforts on prevention of foodborne illnesses.

Inspections for large produce farms - those that generate more than $500,000 sales revenue - will begin this year, according to a department news release. Inspections for smaller produce farms will start in 2020.

Education and training is available to help produce growers implement nationally standardized food safety practices. Produce growers can also participate in an on-farm readiness review. A review is done by a team of state food safety officials and cooperative extension staff who provide an assessment of the farm's readiness to meet the new requirements.

There is no charge to the grower, no regulatory paperwork and feedback is provided through observation and discussion.

Visit safeproduce.wi.gov for more information about produce safety training dates, requesting an on-farm readiness review and registration.