Healthy ecosystem diagram taken from the 2017 updated: A Farmer’s Guide to Food Safety and Conservation: Facts, Tips, and FAQs.
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) – Check out their publication page for excellent resources (flow charts, special reports) on the FSMA Produce Rule and Preventive Controls Rule.
Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) – PSA has resources on water requirements, sanitation, and more on their resources tab of the website. FSMA requires farms that are fully subject to the law to complete a FDA approved curriculum and currently the only approved course is offered by the PSA. Find list of upcoming courses here.
Wild Farm Alliance – Provides in-depth resources on the importance of co-management on farms and how biodiversity and food safety can work hand in hand on a farm.
California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) – Learn more about food safety on organic farms.
Local Food Safety Collaborative: CAFF is partnering with the National Farmers Union and other organizations to create resources and educational workshops for farmers on the new FSMA requirements.
Good Agricultural Practices for Small Diversified Farms: Tips and Strategies to Reduce Risk and Pass an Audit – Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. Wild Farm Alliance’s 2016 This handbook helps conservation planners who work with produce growers, and the growers themselves, to co-manage food safety and conservation by understanding food safety risks in the growing environment, and by learning details of how specific management practices may reduce or increase food safety risk.
Food Safety on the Farm (Unit 7.0 from Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability) – This unit is an introduction to food safety and microbial contamination on farm, and also considers how to assess risks on farm and start to develop a plan for a farm.
GAP FSMA and On-Farm Food Safety Planning Video – Shows the basics of what GAPs are and why they are important, from the Washington State Department of Agriculture
Good Food Safety Practices: Managing Risk to Reduce or Avoid Legal Liability – Looks at legal responsibilities and how negligence is determined in food production.
Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: US Food and Drug Administration – This is one of the earliest documents on produce food safety and provides a bit of a history as to where the current rules and regulations are coming from.
National Good Agricultural Practices Program Educational Material: Cornell University Department of Food Science – A link that provides link to many resources including signage and a description of general GAPs.
Farmer’s Guide to Reducing the Legal Risks of a Food Safety Incident: Farm Commons – The guide will help farmers understand what the legal risks of a food safety incident are and how to reduce the legal risks.
Tools to help train Farm Employees: Penn State – has developed a flip chart of info to help growers train workers about food safety risks and what is expected of growers
How to Build a Field Hand Washing Station in 10 Easy Steps for Under $20 – University of Minnesota Agricultural Health and Safety Program.
Wholesale Success: Section 6 Packing & Sorting – Considers the importance of training and food safety with respect to packing and sorting.
Manure & Compost
Backyard Composting – Washington State University Extension.
Processed Animal Manures in Organic Production – USDA Organic Guidance Document helps to highlight the policy for composting.
Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation – This document provides an overview of biodynamic farming and resources on the specialized practice of biodynamic composting.
Composting – The Basics – This publication addresses materials that are needed to begin a compost pile as well as techniques for successfully managing the composting process.
Conservation & Food Safety
Co-Managing Farm Stewardship with Food Safety GAPs and Conservation Practices: A Grower’s and Conservationist’s Handbook – Wild Farm Alliance’s 2016 handbook helps conservation planners who work with produce growers, and the growers themselves, to co-manage food safety and conservation by understanding food safety risks in the growing environment, and by learning details of how specific management practices may reduce or increase food safety risk.
On Farm Food Safety and Conservation – A webinar that looks at how the two can work together.
Updated Oct. 2017: A Farmers Guide to Food Safety and Conservation: Wild Farm Alliance & CAFF – this brochure provides facts, tips and looks at frequently asked questions.
Wild Farm Alliance (WFA) – Wild Farm Alliance was established by a national group of wildlands proponents and ecological farming advocates who share a concern for the land and its wild and human inhabitants. WFA helps farms thrive by working with nature, and supporting farmers’ critical role in reversing biodiversity loss and climate change. They engage conservationists and consumers to support these efforts. Their mission is to promote a healthy, viable agriculture that helps to protect and restore wild nature.
Note growers should test the irrigation water and wash water to understand the potential risks associated with water. Testing should include Generic E.coli test.
How to Take Water Samples for Irrigation Water – University of Vermont Extension
Testing Well Water: US CDC
Selected Plant and Soil Laboratories in Northern and Central California – UCCE has put together a list of labs that are doing various types of testing including on page 4 of the document you can see which labs are testing irrigation water, by county.
Water Sample Submission Form (Download Word Document or PDF)– The Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Water Sample Submission Form/Bacteriological Analysis Worksheet. VA Department of Agriculture encourages anyone to contact their lab ahead of time for the most up-to-date information before submitting samples.
Shock Chlorination of Water
Shock Chlorination of Wells and Springs – Shock chlorination is a simple and inexpensive process that can be used to disinfect water supplies that have been contaminated as a result of these one-time contamination incidents. When done properly, shock chlorination will kill all the bacteria existing in a well.
Disinfecting Your Well Water: Shock Chlorination – is a standard treatment for sanitizing your well. This link provides guidelines for using shock chlorination treatment safely and effectively.
Food Recall Manual: by the University of Florida Extension – This is an extensive manual with a lot of detail. Very in depth information on food recalls.
Cleaning & Sanitizing
Note: Growers should verify that cleaners and sanitizer are registered by the EPA for use on food or on food contact surfaces before using any products. Household bleach is NOT registered for use by the EPA.
Sanitizer Options, Dosing, Monitoring, and Documenting – Power Point on post-harvest washing and sanitizing options from Dr. Trevor Suslow of UC Davis.
Cleaning and Sanitizing Tools & Harvest Containers – University of Minnesota On Farm GAPs Food Safety Team.
Rinse-Sanitize-Rinse: University of Minnesota Extension -A quick video looking at how to clean washing containers and produce, for small farms.
Wholesale Success: Section 5 Cleaning & Drying – This document looks at the importance of cleaning and the considerations for cleaning.
Foods of Plant Origin Cleaning and Sanitation Guidebook – Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Looks at the cleaning of various types of surfaces as well as options, pros and cons of using different types of cleaning/sanitizing agents.
Small Farm Training Choosing the Right Sanitizer Excerpts – Dr. Trevor Suslow of UC Davis discusses various options for sanitizing wash water.
Choosing and Using a Chlorine Based Disinfectant During Post Harvest Handling of Fruits and Vegetables – NC State Fresh Produce Safety Laboratory has put this document together to help growers understand disinfecting with chlorine.
Wholesale Success: Section 9 Post Harvest Sanitation – Looks at appropriate sanitation throughout harvest and post-harvest.
On Farm Food Safety Cleaning and Sanitizing Guide – Iowa State University Extension.
Postharvest Chlorination – Basic Points and Key Points for Effective Disinfection
Postharvest Handling and Safety of Perishable Crops (Chapter 10 of Small Farm Handbook Copyright © 2011 The Regents of the University of California. Used by permission) – This chapter focuses on a number of areas including Handling at Harvest, Packing, Grading, Storage & Sanitation and Water Disinfection. A full copy of the resource is available here.
Postharvest Handling Decision Tool – Leopold Center of Sustainable Agriculture & Iowa State University Extension Value Added Agriculture Program. Considers post-harvest handling of baby salad greens, beans & peas, bulk roots & tubers, cauliflower/broccoli & cabbage, and bunched greens.
Postharvest water sanitizer suppliers.
Do It Yourself Food Safety Projects
Building a Hands Free Washer – Helps to provide some simple ways of turning the hose into a device to wash produce.
Two Vegetable Wash Station Design – Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
Footbaths for Animal Facilities: Easier than you think! – If you are looking at a way of going between your animal production areas and your produce fields you may want to consider a footbath. This link shows you how to set it up and use it.
How I Built a CoolBot Refrigeration Trailer – A grower provides insight on how to build a trailer for refrigeration.
Commodity Specific Food Safety Plans
These quick reference guides focus on the key guiding principles: prevention of contamination, reduction of survival, and prevention of cross-contamination for each step, up to consumer handling. The documents highlight the key areas of consideration and are especially helpful for diverse horticultural operations.
- Fresh Market Tomatoes
- Edible Landscape & Home Garden Produce
- Fresh Consumed Horticultural Products
The following documents are guidelines that are crop specific and much easier to adopt if you are focusing on a single or a couple of commodities.
- Minimizing the Risk of Foodborne Illness Associated with Cantaloupe Production and Handling in California
- National Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for Cantaloupes and Netted Melons
- Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Lettuce and Leafy Greens Supply Chain – and here is the Appendix B for this guideline document.
- California Strawberry Commission Food Safety Program
- Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Melon Supply Chain
- Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Fresh Tomato Supply Chain
- Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Production and Harvest of Lettuce and Leafy Greens
- Good Agricultural Practices for Food Safety in Blueberry Production: Basic Principles
- Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Production, Harvest, Post-Harvest Handling and Value Added Unit Operation of Green Onions
- Aquaponics –
- Mushroom Good Agricultural Practices (MGAPs) – and additional resources and templates specific to mushrooms can be found here
- Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Production, Harvest, Post-Harvest, and Processing Unit Operations of Fresh Culinary Herbs