USDA Updates Produce GAPs Harmonized Food Safety Audit Checklists

April 14, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is updating the Produce Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Harmonized Food Safety Standards for field operations, harvesting, and post-harvest operations. The changes will align the USDA food safety audit checklists with the newly released Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiatives Standards.

The Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative is an all-industry effort that develops food safety GAPs standards and audit checklists for pre-harvest and post-harvest operations that are applicable to all fresh produce commodities, all sizes of on-farm operations, and all regions in the United States. The Initiative is a collaborative effort on the part of growers, shippers, produce buyers, government agencies, audit organizations, and other stakeholders,

USDA incorporated the Produce GAPs Harmonized Food Safety Standard into its GAPs food safety audit program in 2011.  AMS provides voluntary GAPs audit services to the specialty crops industry that verify that fresh fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards.

The revised Produce GAPs Harmonized checklists go into effect on May 1, 2017.  More information on the checklists and the USDA Produce GAPs Harmonized program are available at

For more information, contact Kenneth Petersen, Chief, AMS Audit Services Branch (ASB), at (202) 720-5021; or Jennifer Dougherty, ASB Audit Program Coordinator and GAPs Team Lead, at (703) 328-7562.