Assess On-Farm Risks
Assessing on-farm risks allows a grower to identify food safety contamination hazards present on their farm. There are several primary sources of contamination:
Soil and Soil Amendments
Equipment and Tools
Each source can be a means for the spread of biological, physical, or chemical hazards. It is important to examine each stage of the flow of products and identify which risks might exist. Based on a thorough assessment, GAPs or best practices can then be incorporated at the different stages of pre-planting, production, harvesting, post-harvest handling, and marketplace handling in order to reduce and mitigate the risks. Using this assessment, you can create your food safety plan, which will become a working document for your farm.
Develop your Food Safety Plan
Consumers and retailers demand accountability when it comes to producing, buying and selling fresh produce. Developing, implementing and auditing a food safety plan are essential steps in obtaining GAP certification and can reduce both health and business risks for consumers and growers. The food safety plan is comprised of information on land use, worker health and hygiene, restroom and sewage, water use, animals, manure, harvesting and packing equipment and containers, and traceability.
Since each grower’s conditions and operations are different, food safety plans need to be farm specific. Check with the contacts previously mentioned to see what resources they can provide, such as audit templates that can be downloaded and edited to include specific farm information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions about GAP certifications?
Taking advantage of the wide variety of available resources can help you get the greatest benefit from the program.