Produce Safety/GAP Education

 

Produce has risen to the top of the list of food commodities associated with foodborne illness. As a result, programs have arisen to encourage fruit and vegetable farmers to adopt safe production, harvest and post-harvest practices.

For information about Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), GAP audits, the Produce Safety Rule or general information about produce safety, go to Food Safety in Connecticut for Farmers and Growers. 

To be placed on the Produce Safety Email list, contact diane.hirsch@uconn.edu.

GAP

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audit programs are non-regulatory programs that may be required by a produce buyer, including distributors, school systems, institutions, government agencies who purchase food or larger retail operations. GAP audits are conducted by USDA and by private auditing firms. Generally, the programs require farmers to attend a training program and to develop and implement a food safety plan which is used as a basis for the audit.

University of Connecticut Extension offers training programs to help farmers learn about Good Agricultural Practices and to develop and implement food safety plans.

FSMA Produce Safety Rule

The Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule was implemented in 2016. This Rule requires farmers that are not exempt from the Rule to attend an approved training program. The Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) developed an approved course. University of Connecticut Extension offers the PSA course, using approved lead trainers.

Farmers who may be exempt from the Produce Safety Rule and who do not sell to customers requiring a GAP audit are still encouraged to attend a produce safety training course. Any outbreak tied to a fruit or vegetable farm in Connecticut can have negative consequences for both the individual farmer and the industry as a whole.

 

For questions about GAP and food safety plans, or future workshops contact: diane.hirsch@uconn.edu