Monday, April 6, 2015

Save 75% on GAP Certification

In January 2002, USDA formally implemented the Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices (GAP & GHP) audit verification program.  This voluntary program is offered to the fruit and vegetable industry to verify an operation’s efforts to minimize the risk of contamination of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts by microbial pathogens.  The program does not guarantee the product is free from microbial contamination, but verifies the participant has taken proactive measure to reduce the risk of contamination by adhering to generally recognized industry best practices.  The responsibility for product safety and the continued observance of best practices rests with the operation producing and handling the fresh product.

Some of the areas covered by GAP include:
  • Water – for both crop growth and processing
  • Manure management – identify microbial hazards, address treatments to reduce pathogens and cover manure handling
  • Worker health and hygiene – identify microbial hazards and necessary worker training
  • Sanitary facilities – includes toilet facilities and hand washing stations
  • Field sanitation – identify microbial hazards and required equipment maintenance
  • Packing facility sanitation – identify microbial hazards, maintenance concerns and pet control
  • Transportation
  • Traceback
Implement GAP on a farm makes sense since the measures reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses for both growers and consumers.  The MO Dept of Ag has received funding from FDA which allows us to cover 75% of the cost of GAP certification for Missouri vegetable producers.  If you are GAP certified or are thinking of becoming GAP certified, the cost share is a sweet deal.  

To participate:
  • Develop a written farm safety plan
  • Have a GAP inspection conducted
  • Submit a copy of the passing GAP inspect score sheet
  • Submit a copy of the GAP inspection invoice
The funding is available for a limited time so please contact the MO Dept of Ag at 573-522-4170.

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