Harmonized GAP

USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Specialty Crops Program, Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) Division Audit Programs offers voluntary independent audits of produce suppliers throughout the production and supply chain. SCI Division Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) audits focus on best agricultural practices to verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored in the safest manner possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards. SCI Division 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 and industry recognized food safety practices.

Produce GAPs Harmonized Food Safety Standard Audit

USDA incorporated the Produce GAPs Harmonized Food Safety Standard into its GAP & GHP audit program in 2011. There are two standards used for Produce GAPs Harmonized Food Safety Standard Audits: the “Field Operations and Harvesting Harmonized Food Safety Standard” and the “Post-harvest Operations Harmonized Food Safety Standard.” The official versions of these standards are posted on the United Fresh Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative website at http://www.unitedfresh.org/food-safety/gap-harmonization-initiative

USDA has combined the two United Fresh standards into a new standard. A summary of how the Harmonized audit program will differ from the current program is provided below.

Audits to the new combined standard will be performed using the new combined checklist beginning May 1, 2018.

The Global Markets addendum may be conducted at the request of the auditee in conjunction with a harmonized audit for the remainder of the 2018 calendar year.

USDA has developed a standard for Harmonized GAP Plus+, an audit program that will be submitted to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) for technical equivalence. Audits to the new standard will be performed using the new GFSI GAP Plus+ Checklist beginning May 1, 2018.