Commissions representing berry growers in Oregon, Washington and California have banded together to promote good food safety practices.

The efforts begin this spring with education and training of growers and farm workers on proper handling of fresh fruit, according to a news release.

The combined effort was prompted by an outbreak of E. coli last summer in Oregon strawberries.

The Oregon Strawberry Commission asked the Oregon Department of Agriculture to host a food safety meeting that included other Oregon berry groups as well as those in Washington and California.

The initial meeting was held a few weeks ago and established a need for a unified berry response.

The California Strawberry Commission has already developed a successful food safety program, and the group will share it with Oregon and Washington.

The training will be conducted on the farm and be presented in Spanish and English.

A series of four to six on-farm training sessions will occur in Oregon.

Within Oregon, the Oregon Farmers Market Association and Tri-County Farm Fresh Produce will help spread the word.

For more information, contact Vance Bybee at (503) 986-4727.