FSMA Produce Safety Rule Good Agricultural Practices & Good Handling Practices
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) are voluntary audits that verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards. GAP & GHP audits verify adherence to the recommendations made in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (pdf) and industry recognized food safety practices. In 2015, The USDA Audit Program performed audits in 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada, covering over 90 commodities.
Tolani Lake Enterprises Inc. has a two-acre plot of land that will be used as a demonstration small market farm. Part of the demo is to show people how to earn a living or at least supplement one’s income from small market gardens. TLE has a MOU with a local pizza business to supply their salad bar. In order to do this in a responsible manner it is critical to produce food in a safe manner and to reduce the chances of food borne pathogens causing illness at any point along the food chain.
TLE will use this opportunity to teach food safety practices following using Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course as developed by Cornell University to comply with the new FSMA Produce Safety Rule.
TLE has two board that has taken the food safety course and will receive certificates of completion from the University of Arkansas.
Using this as a guide, we will develop our own food safety program. We will teach this to our growers and encourage practice this safety precautions at home even if they are just growing for their own families. Things like fencing the garden area off so they can control animal access thereby limiting the possibility of animal fecal contamination.