USCC Webinar

Compost and Food Crops:
Protecting Your Business and Your Customers


The US Food and Drug Administration has highlighted compost in proposed regulations for the implementation of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act, proposing some very restrictive requirements for using compost on certain fresh produce crops. But the fact is, properly produced compost can help protect both people and plants from getting sick.

The key is “properly produced”.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • What is the FDA’s concern?
  • What do we know about compost and food safety?
  • How one compost manufacturer has successfully sold to growers under the Leafy Green Marketing Agreement, one of the strictest standards in the market.


David Crohn

David Crohn

UC Riverside, Riverside, CA

David Crohn earned his doctorate in 1992 from Cornell University in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Since then he has been a professor and Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Riverside.

His research emphasizes the beneficial use of municipal and agricultural residues as soil amendments and fertilizers. Dr. Crohn develops tools to assist farmers including scheduling of applications of manures and other organic fertilizers.

He works closely with the compost industry and state agencies, assisting them in identifying quality products for use in landscape to promote plant health and in construction areas to control erosion. Recently, he has published novel approaches for determining environmental pathogen survival functions where temperatures vary over time and where occurrences represent events that are seldom observable.

Patricia Millner

Pat Millner

USDA Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Lab, Beltsville, MD

Patricia Millner is a Research Microbiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC). Her degrees are from University of Maryland-College Park (1970-B.S. Microbiology and Biochemistry; 1975-M.S. Botany; 1984-Ph.D, Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Sciences).

Her career with USDA began in 1970 in the Mycology Laboratory, and in1976 she joined the team in the Biological Waste Management Laboratory that developed the Beltsville Aerated Static Pile Method of composting. She served as Research Leader of the USDA, Soil Microbial Systems Laboratory from 1991-2000 when BARC was reorganized.

Since then she served in a dual appointment with the Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory and the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory, at BARC. Her areas of expertise are the microbiology of composting, compost products and utilization; bioaerosols and their airborne transport/dispersal; and food safety as related to Good Agricultural Practices and pathogen reduction/survival under environmental stress and cropping systems.

Pat is a member of the American Society for Microbiology and the International Association of Food Protection. Pat is a recipient of the USDA Superior Service Award for “outstanding team effort and response to an urgent national need for research information on safe and beneficial use of sewage sludge on agricultural land’, a USDA Team award for “Development of New Technologies and Greater Understanding of the Fundamental Principles Supporting Sustainable Agricultural Systems”, and the U.S. Composting Council Rufus Chaney Award for Research Excellence.

Johnny Massa

Johnny Massa

Comgro Soil Amendments, General Manager

Johnny Massa has a leadership role at Comgro, a 20-year composting business that grew from its roots in farming, where it was formed to answer a need for quality compost and timely service. Along the way, Comgro has developed a food safety program that was in place before the spinach outbreak of 2006.

All of Comgro’s compost is third -party sampled and tested to meet and exceed LGMA, EPA, NOP and STA standards for compost. Its owners ensure that all of Comgro’s compost is traceable back to its original source.

As a business, Comgro follows a philosophy of, “Take care of the soil and the soil will take care of you.” The Comgro team has worked closely with the USDA, FDA, CDFA, USCC, Cal-Recycle, LGMA and Western Growers. Johnny has been a speaker at the Center for Produce Safety, and the Western Food Safety Summit, to educate people on composting and food safety. Comgro believes that quality compost should be part of every grower/shipper food safety program.

You can purchase a recording of this webinar in the store.