|Page updated/verified: Apr 01, 2013
Good Handling Practices
For more information, contact program staff
or call (360) 902-1833
To view PDF files, download Acrobat Reader.
WSDA's Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Program is always
seeking ways to improve services that will benefit the industry it serves.
Thus, joining forces with the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA), as well as other states, WSDA is offering to Washington State
growers, producers and shippers an auditing service throughout the food
chain to verify that best practices are being followed using USDA's
Good Agricultural/Good Handling Practices Audit Program (GAP/GHP).
A New audit standard is also available. The Produce GAP's Harmonized Food
Safety Standards are also available through USDA or WSDA auditors if
View Publication USDA GAP/GHP Practices (PDF)
Washington Facilities USDA GAP/GHP Certified
What is a USDA Good Agricultural/Good Handling Practices Audit?
The GAP/GHP Audit Verification Program is a voluntary program to demonstrate that the participating
company has adhered to Food and Drug Administration's
Guide to Minimize
Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. A
successful audit shows commitment by management and employees to follow and
maintain the guidelines to help minimize the potential risk for microbial
contamination of the product.
Because the program is voluntary, an audit is
performed only at the request of the applicant.
The GAP/GHP Audit Verification Program
audits the following:
- Food Safety Program
- Worker and Visitor Health and Hygiene Practices
Part 1 -- Farm Review:
- Water Usage, Sewage Treatment, Animals/Wildlife/Livestock
- Manure and Biosolids
- Soils -- Previous Land Use
Part 2 -- Field Harvest and Field Packing:
- Worker Sanitation
- Field Harvesting and Transportation
Part 3 -- House Packing Facility:
- Washing/Packing line
- Worker Health and Personal Hygiene
- Packinghouse General Housekeeping
- Pest Control
Part 4 -- Storage and Transportation:
- Containers and Pallets
- Pest Control
- Storage and Temperature Control
- Transportation and Loading
Part 5 -- Suspended
Part 6 -- Wholesale Distribution/Terminal Markets:
- Storage Facility/Temperature Control
- Pest Control
- Repacking and Reconditioning
- Shipping and Transportation
Part 7 -- Preventative Food Security Procedures:
This section covers the possibility of intentional
contamination or tampering of the product.
- Food defense plan
- Visitor check-in policy
- Vehicle parking for employees and visitors
- Movement of employees while on the premises
- Positive identification of employees.
Requesting an Audit
If you would like to participate in this voluntary audit
program, you must schedule an audit by calling your local district office.
A request for your initial audit must be made no later than two (2) weeks
prior to the end of the growing/harvesting/packing season.
Participation in this program requires a signed
Agreement for Participation in the GAP/GHP Audit Verification Program.
To Schedule an Audit, please call your local district office:
Yakima District Office:
Wenatchee District Office: (509) 662-6161
Audit Process and Scoring
Each Audit contains a series of questions pertaining to
each section of the audit checklist. Each question within an audit
section has a point value assigned to it. Auditors answer either YES,
NO, NA (Not Applicable to this audit) Under the "DOC" column if there is a
"D", "R" or "P", you must have the following; "D" indicates a document is required to show conformance to the question. An
"R" indicates that a record is required to be kept showing an action was taken. A "P" indicates that a policy/SOP must be documented in the Food Safety plan in order to show conformance to the question. If the question is given a YES by the
auditor, the applicant receives the total points available for that
question. If the question is given a NO by the auditor, the applicant
receives no point value for that question. If the question is designated as NA, the points for that questions will be removed from the total possible points for that section and there will be a new adjusted total points.
Each requested section of the audit requires 80 percent of the total points
available to achieve a passing score. Every audit must start with and pass the General Question Section of the checklist. An audit is
good for one calendar year.
- A documented Food Safety Plan
- A written standard operating procedure (SOP) -- This
will explain or demonstrate how your farm or production company complies
with each audit section.
- Records for specific actions that are taken, such as
regular cleaning of of food contact surfaces, refrigeration areas or
- Records of periodic and scheduled self-audits or
internal audits of the program.
- The person designated to oversee the food safety
Who To Contact for additional information:
Jim Quigley, Fruit and Vegetable Program Administrator
Fruit & Vegetable Inspection Program
Commodity Inspection Division
Washington State Department of Agriculture