Produce - Preharvest
UC Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
Several publications on the key points of control and management of microbial food safety as part of the management plan of good agricultural practices for produces, handlers and processors of edible horticultural crops.
Produce Safety Alliance (Cornell University)
The Produce Safety Alliance was established at Cornell University with funding from the USDA and FDA. The Alliance has developed a nationwide curriculum, the National Good Agricultural Practices Program, to increase understanding of the principles of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and to facilitate the implementation of food safety practices on fresh fruit and vegetable farms and in packinghouses. Includes educational materials - posters, booklets, photonovels, magnets, etc. in English, Spanish, and other languages.
On-Farm Food Safety Project
This website includes a free online tool which generates customized on-farm food safety plans based on user input. The tool is designed for use by small to mid-scale fruit and vegetable growers and provides a full set of record keeping tools to document food safety programs.
Activity-Specific Food Safety Information
- Quality control of wastewater for irrigated crop production (FAO, United Nations)
Agricultural Water and the Produce Safety Rule
The Produce Safety Rule (PSR) requires growers to initially establish a Microbial Water Quality Profile (MWQP) for each untreated agricultural water source used during growing activities of covered produce (other than sprouts) using a direct water application method and conduct annual surveys for that water source in subsequent years. The water quality profile is based on the levels of generic E. coli in your agricultural water. There are different requirements for agricultural water that comes from surface or ground (well) sources.
More information on the Produce Safety Rule and agricultural water can be found here:
Untreated Surface Water:
The initial MWQP must be established with a minimum of 20 water samples that are representative of use and collected as close to harvest as possible over a period of at least 2 years to a maximum of 4 years. Geometric mean (GM) and Statistical Threshold Value (STV) are calculated from these 20 samples (minimum). The GM and STV are your MWQP and should be compared to the microbial quality criteria provided in the Produce Safety Rule.
After the initial MWQP has been established, GM and STV values must be updated annually based on a minimum of 5 new samples. “Rolling” GM and STV values are calculated by combining the old and new sample data. For example, for an MWQP established with 20 samples, five new samples would be combined with the most recent 15 samples from the previous MWQP to update the MWQP and confirm that the water is still being used appropriately.
Untreated Ground Water:
The initial MWQP must be established with a minimum of 4 water samples collected as close to harvest as possible over a growing season or over a period of one year. Geometric mean (GM) and Statistical Threshold Value (STV) are calculated from these 4 samples. The GM and STV are your MWQP and should be compared to the microbial quality criteria provided in the Produce Safety Rule. After the initial MWQP has been established, GM and STV values must be updated annually based a minimum of 1 new sample. “Rolling” GM and STV values are calculated by combining the old and new sample data. The one new sample combined with the most recent 3 samples from the previous MWQP are used to update the MWQP and confirm that the water is still being used appropriately.
Tools to calculate Geometric Mean and Statistical Threshold Value:
Several tools were developed to make it easy to calculate the GM and STV and to determine if your water meets the criteria for appropriate application to produce before harvest. The tools were also designed to assist you with making water management decisions if your water does not meet the criteria in the Produce Safety Rule.
Untreated Surface Water:
- Excel Tool (Western Center for Food Safety, Version 4.0, June 10, 2016) (Will download as Excel Spreadsheet, 274 KB) http://ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu/files/229168.xlsx
- Ag Water App (University of Arizona Coop. Ext.)
- Online Calculator (University of Arizona Coop. Ext.)
Untreated Ground Water:
- Excel Tool (Western Center for Food Safety, Version 3.0, June 10, 2016) (Will download as Excel Spreadsheet, 273 KB) http://ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu/files/239320.xlsx
Links are also available on the UA Fresh Produce Safety website
Commodity-Specific Food Safety Information
- Aquaponics Association
- Aquaponics - California Aquaculture (PDF 328 KB)
- Aquaponics in Hawaii (University of Hawaii) (PDF 1.1 MB)
- Aquaponics in Hawaii Conference, May 2013 (Downloadable PDF Presentations on page)
- Fox, B.K., C.S. Tamaru, J. Hollyer, L.F. Castro, J.M. Fonseca, M. Jay-Russell, and T. Low. October 2012. A Preliminary Study of Microbial Water Quality Related to Food Safety in Recirculating Aquaponic Fish and Vegetable Production Systems. Food Safety and Technology FST-51. (PDF 1.6 KB)
- FDA Guidance for Industry: Letter to Firms that Grow, Harvest, Sort, Pack, Process, or Ship Fresh Cantaloupe, Nov. 2011
- FDA Guidance for Industry: Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Melons; Draft Guidance, July 2009
- FDA Industry Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Melon Supply Chain - 1st Edition, Nov. 2005 (PDF 296 KB)
- Growth, Reduction, and Survival of Bacteria on Melon Types (University of Florida Extension) (PDF 2.2 MB)
- Microbiological Safety of Fresh and Fresh-Cut Melons - A Bibiography (PDF 39 KB)
- Controlled Environment Agriculture Center at The University of Arizona
- Greenhouse and High Tunnel Resources - University of California Cooperative Extension (PDF 546 KB)
- Hydroponic/Greenhouse Crops - University of Florida Extension
- FDA Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Production, Harvest, Post-Harvest, and Processing Unit Operations of Fresh Culinary Herbs, Jan. 2013 ( PDF 2.06 MB)
- FDA Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Production, Harvest, Post-Harvest, and Valued-Added Unit Operations of Green Onions, Feb. 2010 (PDF 2.01 MB)
- Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement - Food Safety Practices - English & Spanish, Aug. 2011
- California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement - Food Safety Practices - English & Spanish, Aug. 2013
- Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Lettuce and Leafy Greens Supply Chain - Final Edition, August 2013 (PDF 651 KB)
- FDA Guidance for Industry: Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Leafy Greens; Draft Guidance, July 2009
- Leafy Greens Food Safety Research (Herndon, VA, September 20-21, 2007) (PDF 53 KB)
- Microbiological Safety of Leafy Green Vegetables - A Bibliography (PDF 174K)
- FDA Guidance for Industry: Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Tomatoes; Draft Guidance - July 2009
- Growth, Reduction, and Survival of Bacteria on Tomatoes (University of Florida Extension) (PDF 969 KB)
- Industry Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Fresh Tomato Supply Chain - 2nd Edition, July 2008
- Microbiological Safety of Tomatoes and Tomato Products - A Bibliography (PDF 64K)
- Outbreaks of Foodborne Disease Associated with Tomatoes (University of Florida Extension) (PDF 723 KB)
- Tomato Safety Research Needs Workshop (JIFSAN-UF/IFAS February 21-22, 2007) (PDF, 1.9 MB)
- Disposition of Food From Flood-Affected Crops
o Letter to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture September 16, 2011
o Letter to State Agriculture Departments/Agencies September 27, 2011
- Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Flood-affected Food Crops for Human Consumption (FDA)
- A Notice to Growers, Food Manufacturers, Food Warehouse Managers, and Transporters of Food Products About the Safety of Food Affected by Hurricanes, Flooding, and Power Outages (FDA)
- Guidance for Industry: A Notice to Growers, Food Manufacturers, Food Warehouse Managers, and Transporters of Food Products on Decontamination of Transport Vehicles (FDA)
- A Notice to Growers, Food Manufacturers, Food Warehouse Managers, and Transporters of Food Products on How to Dispose of Contaminated Food (FDA)
GAPs Information Sites - Other Non-UC Sources
- California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement
- Cornell University - National Good Agricultural Practices Program
- Florida Tomato GAPs
- Leafy Greens Guidance (Western Growers Association)
- On-Farm Food Safety This Penn State University website outlines four steps to safer farm practices.
GAPs Training Opportunities
Online GAPS Course:
- GAPs Online Produce Safety Course Sponsored by Cornell University.
(See the Online Course home page for the most current course offering and more information.)
Management of Soil Amendments
- The Dos and Don'ts of Dairy Manure Management (PDF 1.02 MB)
- Managing Manure Applications (PDF 2.3 MB)
- US Composting Council
- Test Methods for the Examination of Composting and Compost
- Principles for Preparing Water Quality Objectives in British Columbia (Publication of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Government of British Columbia, CN. Marr, B. 2001.)
- Bibliography: Food Safety for Perennial Fruit Crops 06-08 (PDF 57 KB)
- Bibliography: General Food Safety Related to Tree Crops 06-08 (PDF 39 KB)
- Bibliography: Tree Crop Food Safety 06-08 (PDF 95 KB)
- The Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) Model Code for Produce Safety
- Council on Agriculture, Science and Technology (CAST), Food Safety and Fresh Produce: An Update