GAP ~ Good Agricultural Practices
Food safety is a major concern for all food producers and handlers. Therefore, the utilization of GAP on your farming operation is essential to minimize contamination and ensure quality.
- Diagrams & flow charts of operations, water testing plans and results, evidence of proper worker training, and records of fertilizer/pesticide applications and management are all beneficial when it comes to food safety.
- Properly train employees on equipment operation with food safety and sanitation in mind.
Water Quality and Source
- Water can be a source of microbiological contaminants. Be aware of your water sources and quality, and identify all potential sources of contamination.
Orchard Floor Management
- Excluding domestic animals from free access to the orchard, controlling weeds and parking unused equipment away from orchards to keep rodent hiding places to a minimum, and evaluating suitable methods of dust reduction will help minimize the potential for contamination.
- Prohibit any glass containers from being present in or around your orchards.
Field Sanitation and Employee Hygiene
- Employees should have ready access to toilets and hand washing facilities, and cleaning of the portable toilets should be done with caution to prevent leakage into the orchard areas.
- All animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects, are potential sources of contamination. They can harbor and shed a variety of pathogenic agents, such as Salmonella and E. coli. By developing a program that checks for animal activity, and by removing any unnecessary build-up from any pest activity surrounding the orchards, this will reduce the risk of contamination.
- Be aware of surroundings and of any potential hazards that may come into contact with your orchard and/or product.