The Food Quality Assurance Program offers audits of fruit and vegetable producers and handlers to determine compliance with Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices. The program is conducted through a cooperative agreement with USDA/AMS. Conducting the audits through USDA provides national recognition for producers and handlers to the many buyers now requiring audits for compliance with the guidelines. Additional information concerning the Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices Audits can be found at http://www.ams.usda.gov/fv/fpbgapghp.htm.
The audits are based on elements derived from FDA's guidance document entitled "Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables" available at the FDA website. The FDA guidance document identifies water, manure and municipal bio-solids, worker health and hygiene, sanitary facilities, field sanitation, packing facility sanitation, transportation and traceback as areas to be addressed to prevent microbial contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables. Categories on the audit include personnel hygiene and practices, farm review, field harvesting and field packing activities, packing house facility, storage and transportation, food security and trace-back. Additional information is included in a growers guide entitled "Food Safety Begins on the Farm" compiled by the National GAP program and available at http://www.gaps.cornell.edu/. "Kansas Food * A * Syst: A Food Safety Risk Management Guide for the Producer" available at http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/library/fntr2/foodasyst/foodasys.pdf. Producers can use this information to implement or improve "Good Agricultural Practices" without requesting an audit.
Food Quality Assurance Program