GroupGAP provides another way for growers of all sizes and groups of growers to achieve GAP certification
Historically, GAP certification to reach larger markets has been out of reach for many small and mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, and socially disadvantaged farmers because of the cost. GroupGAP provides an umbrella of support, with the group and its participants addressing food safety cooperatively.
In GroupGAP, a collection of independent farms organize to create a food safety system. Members identify the food safety audit standard (either GAP, HGAP, HGAP Plus+) best suited to the requirements of their buyers. The group then works to develop and implement a shared Quality Management System (QMS) and food safety practices, collecting required documentation.
USDA will perform an annual system audit of the group’s QMS, and annual GAP audits on a representative sample of farms. If the group demonstrates compliance with its QMS and food safety audit standards, the group will be issued a GroupGAP Certification. Group members can share the certification with buyers to gain more profitable market access.
A group consists of producers and/or supply chain partners, that may include food hubs or cooperatives.