What is GAP
Good Agricultural Practices, or GAP’s, is a way of thinking about producing food in a way that reduces the risk of microbial contamination. In the last few years, there have been numerous publicized cases of foodborne illness associated with fresh fruits and vegetables. Cantaloupe, lettuce, and sprouts have all been implicated in recent years.
These outbreaks are costly for all: from consumers stricken with illness, to farmers who suffer the economic cost of recalls. Additionally, consumer confidence plummets with each recalled product, yielding long-term financial consequences for any business that grows, processes, or sells these products.
GAP programs outline sound agricultural practices that farmers and gardeners follow to reduce these risks in all areas; from water, manure use, sanitation and hygiene, in the farm and field, as well as harvest, packing and transportation.
The GAP program can be scaled to fit large and small operations, and training is available through our GAP workshops and publications, which include food safety guidelines, templates, record keeping forms, self-audit information, and additional resources.
While the GAP program is voluntary, many supermarkets, distributors, and food processors, do look for suppliers that follow GAP guidelines. Every business is looking to reduce their liability from food contamination. Consumers as well, will seek out produce grown under stricter food safety guidelines. The GAP program benefits everyone!