Food Safety for Commercial Growers
Food Safety for Commercial Growers
Safe food handling is quickly becoming one of the most
important issues for producers in NC.
Major U.S. food companies are looking to tighten the nations’ existing
food safety net, possibly moving the government guidelines to mandatory and
requiring companies to prove that their current suppliers are complying. The continued E.coli outbreaks and product recalls have moved food safety quickly
into the forefront of consumer minds.
Produce buyers and companies are coming under more direct pressure to
have in place Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/ Good Handling Practices
For the last 4 years producers have heard about GAP/GHPs, N.C. Cooperative Extension has
spoken about it, and now it is hear – knocking on our FRONT door!
The “Guide To Minimize Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits
and Vegetables” is the foundation on which the food safety guidelines for fresh
produce rests. The GAP/GHP offers
producers some guidance for the third party certifications that are being
required from some end markets. The resultant
certification from the GAP/GHP audit will allow growers to be ready for the industry trends seen in
CA, ensuring they keep their existing markets, allowing for diversification of
those markets, and the continued livelihood of safe fresh fruits and
This webpage is designed to help heighten the awareness of
food safety with producers and move the industry towards implementation of some
food safety steps on their own farms.
The NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force has been formed and
would like to hear from your needs. For the time being, please send an email
to Diane_Ducharme@ncsu.edu to find answers.
Resources to Begin your Education in Food Safety
This is the guide that forms the foundation of microbial food safety for fresh fruits and vegetables.
GAP/GHP is a voluntary program.
The voluntary guidelines and checklist presented here provide a
pre‑harvest security resource and are designed to help the agricultural
producer reduce security risks at the farm level. Each producer should
review the guidelines and checklist to determine the recommendations
most appropriate for his or her operations
guidance covers fresh-cut fruits and vegetables that have been minimally
processed (e.g., no lethal kill step), and altered in form, by peeling,
slicing, chopping, shredding, coring, or trimming, with or without washing or
other treatment, prior to being packaged for use by the consumer or a retail
establishment. Examples of fresh-cut products are shredded lettuce, sliced
tomatoes, salad mixes (raw vegetable salads), peeled baby carrots, broccoli
florets, cauliflower florets, cut celery stalks, shredded cabbage, cut melon,
sliced pineapple, and sectioned grapefruit.
Powerpoint presentations on:
Good Agricultural Practices Overview – D. Ducharme
Top 15 Actions to Address GAPs-Billy Little – Coming Soon
NCSU GAP Produce Safety Factsheets- Commodity Specific guidelines
Commodity Specific Guidelines from other Associations:
Prepared by members of the leafy green and Lettuce industry – International Fresh-Cut Produce Association, PMA, United, and Western Growers
Prepared by the North American Tomato Trade Work Group
Prepared by the Florida Tomato Growers Association
Prepared by the Produce Industry Food Safety Initiative, PMA and United.
Produce USDA Third-Party Audit Verification Program
Webpage content by Diane Ducharme, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Area Specialized Agent for Small Fruits and Vegetables, Henderson , Haywood, and Buncombe Counties.
Last updated 11/02/2007