Food Safety Audits

Farm​​s commonly use third-party food safety audits to provide independent evidence that the farms are managing production and handling risks to minimize foodborne illness and other food safety hazards.

Third-party means that someone with no financial interest in either the farm or the company purchasing the produce conducts the audit. An auditor reviews the food safety plan to see that critical issues are addressed, and visits the farm to observe its practices to determine whether they are consistent with the food safety plan.

The USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service conducts food safety audits, as do a number of private companies. Specific requirements and costs of an audit vary depending on the provider and protocol used.

Many wholesale produce buyers demand that their suppliers pass a third-party audit to provide assurance that food safety risks are minimized. Current federal regulations do not require farms to pass food safety audits. Therefore, it is up to each grower to determine whether an audit will benefit his or her particular operation.

The resources below provide more information about audits, their cost, and how to prepare for one. Use them to help determine whether an audit would benefit a particular operation, which audit would be most suitable, and what steps to take if an audit is desired.​​

 

 Resources

 
  
  
  
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LinkUSDA
  
pdfCarolina Farm Stewardship Project
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LinkUniversity of Minnesota
  
pdfUniversity of Idaho
 

 Useful Links

 
  
  
Equicerthttp://equicert.biz
Georgia GAP http://gfvga.org/GAGAP/
Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement http://opma.us
Primus Labs http://primuslabs.com
Quality Assurance International www.qai-inc.com
Scientific Certification Systems www.scscertified.com
Sillikerhttp://www.merieuxnutrisciences.com
USDA AMS - Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Audit Programswww.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/gapghp
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