Guide to Food Safety Certification for Farming Operations
Food Safety Then and Now
Let’s face it, the U.S. food safety market is a very confusing place right now. Due to the demand of their buyers, farmers were previously obtaining food safety certification on site. Retailers, packinghouses and distributors began to ask farmers for some sort of G.A.P. (Good Agricultural Practices) certification to ensure consumer safety. There are multiple food safety standards and many auditing agencies to choose from in the United States, leaving farmers feeling confused and unsure how to proceed. Which auditing agency do I work with? How do I prepare for an audit? Which food safety standard do I choose?
There is now an added element to the food safety world- FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act). Farmers are now faced with FSMA mandated regulations with deadlines closely approaching. The leading food safety standards in the U.S. are working hard to ensure that their standards are compliant to FSMA. In the meantime, though, we can offer some guidance.
Steps to Tackling Food Safety Certification
If you’re a farmer looking to obtain food safety certification due to buyer demand, you should know whether or not your buyer is requesting a GFSI level standard. The next step, after you’ve determined which standard is right for you, is to pick an agency to perform your audit.
Your food safety agency will walk you through what’s needed to prepare for your audit. It’s your responsibility to prepare your food safety plan on site per your chosen standard’s guidelines. When you are ready for your audit, an auditor will visit your site to conduct your food safety audit.
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