Maui County Farm Bureauʻs Maui Ag Day features a Food Safety Certification Panel

Warren Watanabe, Executive Director, Maui County Farm Bureau

Warren Watanabe, Executive Director, Maui County Farm Bureau

The Maui County Farm Bureau’s Maui Ag Day will feature a panel discussion, “Understanding Food Safety Certification”. The panelists are Geoff Haines of Pacific Produce, Inc., Heidi Watanabe of Watanabe Vegetable Processing LLC and Brian Igersheim of Haliʻimaile Pineapple Co. The panel will run from 9 am until 10:30 am. While geared to provide farmers first-hand information they can use to determine if Food Safety Certification is right for their agricultural operation, the general public is invited to learn about the process and requirements.

“We decided to host the panel because Food Safety Certification to educate our farmers and members about food safety and going through the process of what is required in order to be food safety certified,” said Warren Watanabe, Executive Director, Maui County Farm Bureau. “The food safety program it is part of the national program President Obama did sign earlier this year, the Food Safety Modernization Act, and this will be a program under the Food & Drug Administration and USDA.”

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Listen to Warren Watanabe’s radio spot on KPOA with Alakai.

Geoff Haines is the co-owner and manager of Pacific Produce, Inc. He manages a staff of 10 and a six-acre hydroponic farm operation. Geoff’s been in agriculture since 1973. Under the label Waipoli Hydroponic Greens, Geoff and his team grow and deliver locally grown butter lettuce, romaine, red and green lettuce, and watercress to markets on Maui and Oahu. Pacific Produce Inc. farm has been food safety certified for three years.

Heidi Watanabe is the produce manager for her family farm operation, Watanabe Vegetable Processing LLC. Heidi and her brother Tommy are third generation farmers. They grow vegetables and purchase from Maui farmers to deliver fresh to their markets on Maui. The Watanabe’s have a Food Safety Certified processing facility in Kula.

Brian Igersheim works at Haliʻimaile Pineapple Co. He is managed the Food Safety Certification process for Haliʻimaile Pineapple Co from start to finish. He is dedicated to providing information to other farmers because he believes it’s a necessary and doable step for farm operations on Maui.

A trade show will be held from 8 am – 9 am and again from 11:45 am – 1 pm. A tour of the Haliʻimaile facility and fields will run from 10:30 – 11:30 am and a Grown on Maui lunch is scheduled from 11:45 am – 1 pm. A $10 fee will be charged to non-members for Grown on Maui lunch. RSVP suggested by not required. Call 243-2290 or email warrenmcfb@hotmail.com

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