Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Plus+ audit program for specialty crops is now accepted as technically equivalent by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). This means that producers who use this audit program now also meet other U.S. and international regulatory and market requirements.
“Western Growers recognizes that USDA has invested ample time and resources to achieve this positive outcome,” said Sonia Salas, Western Growers’ Senior Director, Science and Technology. “We know that this audit program will be valuable to the produce sector.”
According to a USDA press statement, this international recognition cuts down on paperwork, saves money and time, and ultimately grows markets for American farmers. Additionally, Technical Equivalence means USDA can now provide a single audit that meets U.S. and international regulatory and market-driven food safety requirements.
The USDA program fulfills the technical requirements of the GFSI, the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule, the industry-driven Produce GAP Harmonization Initiative and industry best practices in the United States. For more information, visit the Harmonized GAP website.