[Market-farming] GAPs mandatory - respond please

TradingPostPaul tradingpost at riseup.net
Wed Sep 13 23:22:13 EDT 2006

"On May 31 the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service announced that growers
will have to receive GAP certification as well by July 1, 2007".
paul, tradingpost at riseup.net



Workshop helps prepare for new food handling requirements
Date: 07/12/2006
Contact: Nancy Flores, (505) 646-1179, naflores at nmsu.edu
Reporter: Mickelle C. Spendlove, (505) 646-3082, edison at nmsu.edu

LAS CRUCES – Advisory audits and an information workshop are two of the
ways New Mexico fruit and vegetable vendors will prepare for changes ahead.

A Good Agricultural Practices workshop will be held July 20 for produce
growers to get ready for the new required handling practices set to take
effect next year.

Sponsors from around the state will host the GAPs workshop in Santa Fe to
inform fruit and orchard producers, farmer’s market vegetable growers and
certified organic growers about the new standards that must be met.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that produce vendors follow
particular guidelines with respect to food safety. Currently growers are
required to meet the standard of Good Handling Practices. On May 31 the
USDA Agriculture Marketing Service announced that growers will have to
receive GAP certification as well by July 1, 2007.

According to Nancy Flores, an Extension food technology specialist for New
Mexico State University, “This action is a clear indication of things to
come.” It is necessary that even small farmers meet rising standards.

Presenters of the workshop include Flores, Del Jimenez, Roy Pennock Jr. and
Ron Walser, of NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service, and Craig Mapel, of
the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. Jimenez, Pennock, Walser and
Mapel have provided GAPs training to New Mexico farmers for the last two
years. They encourage small acreage growers as well as Extension personnel
to attend the event.

The goal of the workshop is to provide the framework for a GAPs food safety
plan that participants can easily adapt to their own farming operation. The
day-long event will feature an overview of GAPs and discussion of an array
of topics including manure, compost use, animals and worker hygiene.
Additional presentations will cover water use, harvest sanitation, post
harvest handling, crop risk assessment, GAPs resource information, farm
assessment and record keeping.

The workshop will be from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Santa Fe Cooperative
Extension Service Office’s exhibit hall. A registration fee of $25
includes lunch. Participants are asked to pre-register before July 14 by
contacting Gloria Hernandez with NMSU at (505) 646-2198 or register in
person with Pat Torres at the Santa Fe County Extension Office.

Food safety programs, like GAPs, have already been implemented by many
fresh fruit and vegetable growers as a means to address consumer concerns
about food safety. Many retailers have begun to require that farms are
inspected by third parties to ensure that foods are grown, harvested and
packaged using GAPs.

Because these inspections will become an annual requirement in 2007, the
USDA Fresh Products Branch will conduct audits on an advisory basis
beginning July 1 of this year. Audits will only be performed for fruit and
vegetable vendors currently doing business with the USDA. No contract
action will be taken as a result of the audits. They will be designed to
assist vendors in identifying vulnerable areas that need corrective actions
prior to the mandatory GAP and GHP audit.

All services provided by the Fresh Products Branch are on a cost-recovery
basis and fees will be charged at $75 per hour. For more information about
the food security audits, contact Kathy Staley, head of the Fresh Products
Branch Field Operation, at 800-811-2373. 

National Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Program for New Mexico

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