Mind the GAP: Food Safety Plan and Accountability

The biggest and most daunting piece of GAP certification is the written food safety plan. This is probably going to be a 40-some page document. However, there are many resources available to help you create this document. If you're ready to dive straight in, check out familyfarmed.orgonfarmfoodsafety.org, and WSDA's Bridging the GAPs series. Once you have completed your food safety plan, you really only need to do some simple record keeping to make sure you are sticking to your plan and you should be able to pass your audit with little trouble.

The first section of the food safety plan has to do with accountability. Basically, you need to specify one person who in responsible for food safety on your farm. This is a mandatory piece of your food safety plan, and if you miss this section, you will automatically fail your audit. Here's what the question looks like on the audit:

Your food safety plan should include something along these lines to meet this requirement:

Onfarmfoodsafety.org is an excellent resource for creating your food safety plan, and a lot of this blog series will be information directly from that website. According to their website, here are some best practices for this section:

-Accountability can be with one person or a number of individuals with designated responsibilities.

-Personnel with food safety responsibilities should receive training sufficient to their responsibilities (e.g. completed at least one formal food safety course/workshop or by job experience) and demonstrate a knowledge of food safety principles. This person should exhibit good food safety practices and encourage crew supervisors to set a good example.

-All farm employees need to be made aware of who is responsible/accountable for food safety onsite.