GAP/GHP and Harmonized GAP Audits

Coronavirus Update 3/31/2020 - GAP Certification Extension

The USDA has announced a 60-day extension of GAP certification expiration dates for all certificates currently due to expire between 3/31/2020 and 5/31/2020.

They will be contacting all eligible auditees to inform them of this, and will be updating information under "Find a USDA Gap-Certified Company" on the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) & Good Handling Practices (GHP) webpage to reflect the extended audit expiration dates.

The USDA remains committed to ensuring a safe food supply by delivering timely services and providing continuity of services.

GAP audits are independent, 3rd party audits of Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices for farms and businesses handling fresh produce. They evaluate farms’ food safety systems for their management of biological, physical, and chemical risks, and determines whether the farm is taking preventive measures to assess and prevent those food safety hazards from impacting the public.

The USDA offers three different GAP audits, in increasing levels of hazard control:

These audits are a voluntary way for farms and businesses to provide buyers with independent assurances that their food safety systems are complete, functioning, and current. All USDA GAP audits are provided as a fee-for-service and are done by USDA licensed auditors. Most GAP audits in the state of Maine are done by licensed auditors from Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry. Learn more on the USDA’s website.

First Steps

  • Talk with your buyer to find out what they require for food safety verifications.
  • Decide which audit scheme is right for your business.
  • Start building your food safety systems and plans.
  • Give us a call or email us with any questions you have about scopes, audit requirements, costs of audits, or the overall audit process.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with questions about any of this. We’re happy to support a culture of food safety in Maine and help however we can.