Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Questions

New NSAC Food Safety Modernization Act Resource:

Food Safety Training Requirements for Produce Farms

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Questions

What are GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices)?

Good Agricultural Practices, often referred to GAPs, are practical and voluntary practices that help minimize the risk of microbial, physical and chemical contamination of produce by understanding individual farm practices and the risks associated with such practices. GAPs focus on key areas of production and harvesting such as: Water, Manure/Compost, Animal Access (domestic & wildlife), Worker Health & Hygiene Training, Harvest Equipment, Tools & Containers and Land Use (including assessing potential risk from activities on adjacent property).


I am a small farmer and/or have been farming for many years/decades –we’ve never made anyone sick, why do I need to follow GAPs?

Pathogens can be found on any size farm, including new and old farms. It is essential to understand the risks on your operation and what can be done to minimize the potential risk of on-farm contamination.  Although we rarely hear about outbreaks linked to smaller growers there have been outbreaks, illnesses and deaths associated with the practices of small growers.


I’m certified organic. Do I still need a food safety / GAPs plan?

Yes, although some of the record keeping done with organic certification may help with GAPs or food safety record keeping, certified organic and food safety are two completely separate programs.


What are some common food safety related problems?

  • Employee Training
  • Traceability – specifically creating lot codes
  • Water Testing
  • Use of Sanitizer & Disinfectants for cleaning tools
  • Water Monitoring for fluming water used to wash produce


When testing agricultural water what do I need to test for and where do I go for testing?

Generic E.coli testing is all that is needed, as agricultural water standards use generic E.coli as an indicator organism to identify risk.


What do I need a potable water source for and what does “potable” mean when referring to washing?

Potable water means water that meets drinking water standards from a microbiological stand point, therefore it should be free of coliforms. This water is needed for the purposes of washing and ice making. Washing includes both product washing after harvest, and washing any food contact surfaces (ie. tools, totes, tables, etc. that come in direct contact with produce). Hand washing water must also be potable from a microbiological standpoint. Note: employees must have access to drinking water at all times.

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