Food Safety Plans

canteloupeA food safety plan is written for a specific operation and describes the policies, standard operating procedures, and recordkeeping methods the operation uses to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

A food safety plan includes examples of the operation’s recordkeeping forms. The plan also addresses critical areas that predispose food to contamination, and lists action steps to prevent or reduce potential contamination. A good plan guides workers and indicates to auditors what the farm does to prevent contamination, and what would be done in case of an outbreak. Ideally, the person in charge of food safety reviews the plan annually, and updates it with improvements and modifications — similar to how farmers review production, pest management, and marketing plans and updates them to incorporate improved methods and new information.

Every farm can benefit from a written food safety plan. Farms that intend to go through a third-party food safety audit must have a written plan or they will not pass the audit. The resources below provide more information about what to include in a plan, examples of food safety plans, and templates for writing a plan.​ 



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Farm Food Safety Decision Tree ProjectLinkCornell
Food Safety Begins on the Farm A Grower Self Assessment of Food Safety Risks LinkCornell University
Kansas State Food-A-Syst: A Food Safety Risk Management Guide for the ProducerLinkKansas State University
Univ. of Massachusetts GAPs ManualLinkUniversity of Massachusetts
University of Maine Cooperative Extension Potato Program: GAP InformationLinkUniversity of Maine
FDA Guidance Documents for Produce SafetyLinkFDA
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Developing a Plan for Third-Party AuditsLinkRutgers University
Food Safety Plan for You (FSP4U)LinkUniversity of Minnesota
University of Idaho Potato GAP Audit Organizational ManualpdfUniversity of Idaho
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Farm and Packing House Recordkeeping Sheets from National GAPs ProgramLinkCornell University
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HACCP-Based Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), USDA National Food Service Management InstitutelinkNational Food Service Management Institute United States Department of Agriculture