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Information Collection: Produce Safety University Nomination and Course Evaluation

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This collection is a new collection for notification of Produce Safety University annual training to state agencies and nomination of participants to attend Produce Safety University.

Abstract

Produce Safety University (PSU) is a training course designed to help child nutrition professionals identify and manage food safety risks associated with fresh produce. The PSU course is designed to be a train-the-trainer immersion course, where participants are expected to conduct further training with their peers using the information they obtain during PSU. The PSU curriculum covers all aspects of the fresh produce procurement chain, from growing and harvesting to storage and preparation through a combination of lecture, laboratory, and field-trip instruction.

PSU was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic; during 2021 PSU transitioned to a virtual course, which included pre-recorded field-trip and laboratory components that participants were able to view these aspects virtually, while maintaining the full experience of PSU. Looking forward, PSU will likely continue through a hybrid approach, with both in-person sessions and virtual sessions offered annually.

The purpose of the proposed collection of information is twofold.

The first is to electronically collect course nomination from child nutrition professionals and state agency staff to attend PSU. State agencies may nominate individuals to attend PSU and receive annual logistic information through a letter from FNS. The letter to states includes a link to the online course nomination. While nomination is voluntary, if a participant wishes to attend Produce Safety University, completion of the course nomination is mandatory. To ensure that PSU provides the most appropriate training content that is tailored to the audience, it is necessary to know the occupational make-up of each training cohort. Therefore, job titles and the name of the organization nominees represent will be collected. Collecting this information on the course nomination will ensure that the Office of Food Safety offers this training opportunity equally among each of the states and seven FNS regions. Additional contact information is needed from participants to support their learning experience; when PSU training sessions are held virtually, physical course materials are shipped to each participant. These materials include slides, activities, and supplemental print resources, making address collection necessary.

The second aspect of the proposed collection of information involves program evaluation. The program evaluation involves three instruments, each designed to collect specific information from respondents at specific times. The welcome questions are given to confirmed PSU participants to assess where the training cohort lies in terms of knowledge and experience, which allows for the training team to make minor changes based on the foundational knowledge a group may have. The course evaluation involves questions following each session of PSU to assess if the session achieved its objective, and whether or not the time allotted was sufficient.

The course evaluation also addresses how effective the training team and resources were in helping PSU participants grasp all information taught in the course. This information is crucial to ensure PSU is satisfying participants' expectations and supporting child nutrition program operators with accurate and helpful information. The program impact evaluation is used to measure how the PSU courses have impacted participants six months after their completion of PSU. Since PSU is designed to be a train-the-trainer course, determining if graduates taught others on topics learned in PSU is essential to further the mission of the course. The program impact evaluation is also used to inform resource development to support graduates in their efforts to train others on topics learned in PSU.

The nomination form for Produce Safety University (FNS-909) is currently approved under OMB# 0584-0611 FNS Fast Track Clearance for the Collection of Routine Customer Feedback, which expires on Sept. 30, 2022. This fast track clearance is meant for one-time collections of customer feedback on a variety of programs. Since the original submission, FNS has decided that this will be an ongoing collection, so we are now seeking approval for this under a new OMB control number.

FNS has also made changes to the collection since the original submission. Under OMB# 0584-0611, this collection has two instruments, the FNS-909 and a sample state agency letter, with a total of 218 responses and 55 burden hours. FNS has made a number of changes as part of this new collection. These changes include the following: The FNS-909 is no longer the most appropriate instrument to collect the information from participants, and the new collection will not use the FNS-909. The proposed collection includes new questions outside of the FNS-909 scope. The new questions are necessary to determine nominee eligibility for training participation. We have also updated the course nomination from a paper to online format.

Updated: 05/04/2022