Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management


Missouri Produce Growers



AUTHOR

James Quinn
University of Missouri
Extension
(573) 634-2824
quinnja@missouri.edu

Londa Vanderwal Nwadike
State Extension Food Safety Specialist
University of Missouri
(816) 482-5860
nwadikel@missouri.edu

First Missouri Produce Auction is GAP/GHP Certified

James Quinn
University of Missouri
(573) 634-2824
quinnja@missouri.edu

Londa Vanderwal Nwadike
State Extension Food Safety Specialist
(816) 482-5860
nwadikel@missouri.edu

Published: October 3, 2019

The Clark Produce Auction became GAP/GHP certified this summer, which was followed shortly by 15 or more growers getting their GAP certifications. This was a community- wide effort that took much time and was successful because they were both sincere and diligent. I thought it might be helpful to review the steps that were taken and include some additional information.

It is rare to meet a vegetable grower who 'wants' to get GAP certified, just to 'do it'. For the Clark community, it became a serious issue as a major buyer made it known he'd have to pull his business unless they did. And at least one other buyer was saying something similar. Furthermore, their buyers had been pushing on this issue for some years; they really couldn't dodge it anymore.

About Quality Fresh

Scott Bowman started his company about three years ago and the only service the company provides is GAPs auditing or similar work on food safety of fresh produce. For 2019, he employed seven auditors. This year they performed audits in more than 10 states and their focus or niche is for Amish and Mennonites. While Quality Fresh provides audit service to many communities, not many have a GAP certified produce auction. Ohio is the most with four, but three or four other states have at least one. Quality Fresh can be contacted at:

9825 Cleveland Ave SE
Magnolia, OH 44643
Telephone: 330-575-9401

The training or educational steps they took started small and kept building. Here's a recap:

  • November 2017 (Kirksville)- FSMA PSA training, with four from Clark.
  • September 2018- an On Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) conducted at two farms. About 16 growers attended between the two farms.
  • January 2019- FSMA PSA training at a Clark packing shed. Almost 30 attending.
  • Early summer 2019- more OFRRs conducted in Clark.
  • Mid-June- mock GAP audits conducted at two farms, with a number of growers attending at each (total about 12).
  • Late June- GAP/GHP (Good Handling Practices) audit of the auction by Quality Fresh (Scott Bowman).
  • Early July- GAP audit of 15+ growers by Quality Fresh (Salomon Meyer). This took a week. The GAP audit conducted was 'the combined harmonized produce safety standards' or Harmonized GAP.
  • Missouri Department of Agriculture's efforts to round up water samples in 2019 and get them submitted for testing was very helpful.
  • Also helpful, at the mock GAP audit a template of a succinct, yet complete farm food safety plan was identified. Growers were able to revise and adapt it specific to their farm.

The audit cost per grower was $405. For anyone that 'passed', they were issued temporary certificates at the time. Several growers had items to follow up before they could get even a temporary certificate; this usually involved water testing or usage. After passing, official certificates came in 2-3 weeks. The growers I spoke with said the auditor generally spent 60% (or more) of his time going over the paperwork. A couple of interesting comments were:

  • 'my packing shed sure looks a lot different now than it did last year'.
  • 'it was really a lot to deal with, we're all taking a breather now, but we really can't relax too much, because we have to keep these forms and records up'.

My comment is, that if someone told me 18 months ago that the Clark auction and almost all of its principal growers would be GAPs certified, I would have said 'no way!'. This is a great example of teamwork, from the Clark growers, to our colleagues at Missouri Department of Agriculture, and a number of us at MU Extension. Lastly, their customers who requested this are satisfied and purchasing.

It is important for growers seeking to be GAP certified to check with their buyers first. Verify with them which GAP certification they will be satisfied with- GAP/GHP, Harmonized GAP, or other. Many buyers are still ok with GAP/GHP, but there seems to be a shift to wanting Harmonized GAP. It is also important to check with your buyer(s) on the certification company or organization you plan to use (such as USDA, Primus, or other organization), to make sure they are acceptable.

   About IPM     Contact Us    Subscribe     Unsubcribe

Copyright © 2019 — Curators of the University of Missouri. All rights reserved. DMCA and other copyright information. An equal opportunity/access/affirmative action/pro-disabled and veteran employer.

Printed from: https://ipm.missouri.edu
E-mail: IPM@missouri.edu

REVISED: October 3, 2019