Good agricultural practices (GAPs)

The basic environmental and operational conditions necessary for the production of safe, wholesome fruits and vegetables.

The United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration provide GAPS as guidelines to ensure safety at the farm level. These include risk controls, and/or management suggestions for irrigation, disposal of manure and biosolids, worker health and hygiene, field and harvest sanitation, postharvest water use, and packaging, transportation, storage, and distribution.

Because it is much more difficult to take corrective actions after contamination has occurred, the best way for producers to reduce food safety risk is to take adequate steps to prevent contamination—anticipating all possible sources of risk at all points along the farm-to-table food chain. They can do this by creating and following a step-by-step food safety plan that addresses GAPs and by maintaining good records.

 

Author

James Peth

James Peth

James Peth, MS, MPH is a PhD student in Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.