The Southeast Produce Council recently completed two produce inspection training courses.

Southeast Produce Council offers produce inspection training

Courtesy Southeast Produce Council

Len Janzen (from left), shipping manager of Lakeside Produce, Leamington, Ontario; Brian Ray-field, vice president of sales and marketing for J&J Produce, Loxahatchee, Fla.; and Angela Stout, the Greensboro, N.C.-based quality assurance inspector for Fresh Del Monte Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., inspect some melons as part of a produce inspection training course presented by the Southeast Produce Council.

The May 19-20 and Oct. 6-7 classes, hosted at Merchants Distributors Inc., Hickory, N.C., are similar to those hosted by Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association and conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The difference in the Riverview, Fla.-based Southeast Produce Council’s events, however, involves the council sponsoring the classes in the Southeast vs. in the Washington, D.C. area, said Tom Yawman of Thomas Yawman International Produce Training, Garrisonville, Va., a training company that partnered with the council in providing the courses.

“The attendees enjoyed the training classes, especially the hands-on grading exercises,” Yawman said. “Defects were identified, USDA inspection procedures were discussed, but the class also benefited from the experiences from the other attendees sharing their company inspection procedures pertaining to sampling and defect scoring."

While most of the participants came from the Eastern Seaboard including Florida, the classes, limited to 20 participants per class, drew a variety of attendees, including ones from Canada and Stop & Shop Supermarkets, Quincy, Mass.

Yawman said the council is making plans to have courses in Atlanta next year.