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Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices
What is GAP/GHP?
Strawberry harvest  
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) certification uses a systems-based approach to minimizing risk of microbial contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables on the farm. The practices are a set of parameters that growers can implement during growing, harvesting, sorting, packaging, and storing to reduce the possibility of microbial contamination to fresh fruits and vegetables.
 
The USDA has developed the GAP/GHP audit program to certify U.S. fruit and vegetable producers that use these practices in their production.  The requirements of these certifications are outlined in the Audit Verification Checklist published by USDA.
 
The GAP certification process consists of three (3) main sections for farm operations:
  1. General questions
  2. Farm review
  3. Field harvest and field packing
The GHP certification process is an for operations that conduct packing activities of fresh fruits and vegetables. This also consists of three (3) sections:
  1. General questions
  2. House packing facility
  3. Storage and transportation
Every operation must compile a farm safety program, which outlines the standard operating procedures and policies that are in practice for the requirements of each section. In certain circumstances, documentation must also be provided to substantiate evidence of compliance with the requirements in the checklist.  Additionally, traceback and mock recall requirements have been included in the General questions, and all other sections where applicable and a traceability program must be in place and documented before on-site inspection occurs. 
 
Documents:
 
Sample farm safety plan
 
USDA GAP/GHP Checklist (Nov 2011)
 
 

Find out more
The Oregon Department of Agriculture conducts outreach seminars for producers interested in finding out more about Good Agricultural and Good Handling Practices, the certification process, and its benefits to the industry.  If you or your group are interested in scheduling a seminar or finding out about seminars available in your area, email cid-expert@oda.state.or.us.
 
We encourage all producers of fresh fruit and vegetable products in Oregon to download the sample certification materials available at the right.
 

Resources
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
The USDA also publishes a list of GAP/GHP certified firms for every state, and by commodity. The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service maintains a Good Agricultural Practices website that contains this information along with information about the program, an audit checklist and updates about program requirements.
http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/GAPGHPAuditVerificationProgram
 
Additionally, FDA's Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables is the basis for the GAP standards and contains pertinent background information about where food safety issues occur and how they can be mitigated.

National GAPs Education Center
Cornell University houses a clearinghouse of educational and training materials on GAP/GHPs. They are part of a consortium of land-grant universities that do GAP outreach in their states. If you are looking for training materials for employees, you can download materials directly from the site, or use the order form for hard copies. http://www.gaps.cornell.edu

Oregon Department of Agriculture Commodity Inspection Program
The ODA's Commodity Inspection Program is a USDA accredited certifier for Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices. To find out more about our GAP/GHP Certification Program, go to http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/CID/ghp_gap.shtml.

GAP/GHP training materials

ODA GAP certification manual Rev. 5/2011 (3.1 mb pdf)
ODA "On The Farm" Pamphlet for Direct Marketers (360 kb pdf)

GAP/GHP logs - download a template

Training log
Visitor sign
Restroom cleaning log
Manure application log
Harvest container cleaning log
Pest control log
Processing water treatment log
Processing line cleaning log