Visitor Signage – Where and What

, Produce Safety Technician

Handwashing Sign

The FSMA Produce Safety Rule requires that farms make visitors aware of the farm’s food safety policies and provide toilet and handwashing facilities. This means farms are required to inform any person invited on to the farm of the on-farm policies in place to protect covered produce from contamination by visitors to the farm. On-farm signage is a great way to meet this requirement and as well as inform visitors of other valuable information visitors should know when they arrive at the farm.

Visitor signage can be approached in many ways. One solution is to post a large sign containing all on-farm policies at the entrance to the farm, entrance to u-pick fields, or near cash registers Post signs large enough that important information is easily noticeable and easily read by farm visitors. Locating the sign in a central location where visitors will pass by it, allows the farm to meet the visitor requirement without adding additional labor hours needed to inform visitors individually of the farm’s policies and procedures. These signs should hold all the important on-farm policies and can also inform visitors of the locations of accessible toilets and handwashing stations available to them during their visit. These signs can also include vital information visitors should know, like not visiting the farm when showing signs of illness and to leave pets at home.

We all know that repetition is key. Additional signage, strategically placed, with short snippets of information can help to remind your visitors to wash their hands or not pick up dropped produce. By targeting one area at a time, you’re able to focus on more specific procedures, like how to properly wash your hands, while reminding them to wash their hands after using the restroom. Additional supplemental signage can be used to remind visitors of what fields and buildings they are allowed to visit while at the farm. Adding “farm personnel only” signs at the entrances to fields and buildings will help visitors know what areas on the farm they are welcome to enter. This can help reduce the time spent monitoring farm visitors and keep visitors safe from possibly dangerous farm equipment and chemicals. Helping visitors know where to go and where they can be will also help the farm reduce the likelihood of contamination of fresh produce from individuals and groups visiting the farm.

In addition to - or instead of - on-farm signage, farms can have copies of their on-farm policies and give them directly to visitors. By giving on-farm policy sheets directly to individuals or groups, farms can be assured that visitors have received their on-farm food safety policies, know what areas of the farm they are allowed to visit, as well as the location of toilets and handwashing facilities. For U-Pick operations, these sheets could also provide a map of U-Pick fields and mark what areas of the farm on off-limits to them during their visit or even a menu of fun activities that they can do on-farm.

For U-Pick and other Agritourism sites, it may be helpful to post on-farm policies on the farm website or social media page. This way visitors will be informed of on-farm policies before they visit the farm. Informing visitors beforehand to leave pets at home, as well as not visiting the farm when showing signs of illness; fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and jaundice can also be posted online. This way, visitors will know what they should do before arriving at the farm and when not to visit in times of illness. Posting policies next to other important information like farm business hours is a great and easy way to let visitors know in advance that the farm cares about their visit as well as on-farm food safety.

While it is important that visitors are aware of and following your policies, remember that you can make signage fun, too. Adding a little humor or some graphics can be eye-catching and help visitors to remember what you’ve asked of them. Simple signage like, “Share your smiles, but not germs. Please Wash Your Hands before entering the field.” strategically placed outside the field and next to a handwashing sink makes it easy for your visitors to do the right thing. There are many ways farms can meet the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement for visitors. For on-farm examples, signage suggestions, and the development of on-farm food safety policies, please visit for more information.