Blakely Atkinson, GAP Program Coordinator
Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) are methods used by produce farmers to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses resulting from the contamination of fresh fruit and vegetables. These methods are voluntary guidelines based on the Food and Drug Administration’s Guide to Minimizing Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Produce. GAPs take into consideration microbial contamination potential in the production, packing, handling, and storing of fresh produce.
Important things to know about GAP:
- GAP is voluntary
- GAP is not required by law, however, some buyers can still require it
- GAP certification can open new market opportunities for growers
- Food safety is top priority
- Following GAP guidelines shows care for consumers
SCDA’s Commitment to Growers
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture recognizes the need for on-farm food safety and is committed to helping the growers of our wonderful state be successful in reaching new markets by using good agricultural practices to assure consumer safety. Our commitment has resulted in the GAPs Education and Outreach Program that educates growers on the guidelines of GAP audits and walks them through the entire preparation process leading up to audit day, while leaving a lasting impact to practice on-farm food safety every day after.
What the GAP Education and Outreach Program Offers
- On-farm Consultations
- Regional Workshops
- Reimbursement for Audit Costs
If you are interested in learning more, please complete the intake application or contact our GAP Program Coordinator.
- GAP Cost Share Application
- USDA Harmonized GAP Audit Program
- USDA GAP Audit Checklists
- GAP Educational Materials – Cornell University
- GAP Consulting – Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
Frequently Asked Questions
See answers to important questions here.