Are you ready for a GAP audit?
Here are some pointers on how to assess your readiness for a USDA GAP audit.
You have spent months preparing yourself and your farm. You have implemented numerous changes on-farm to enhance the safety and quality of the food that you grow. You feel you are ready for a GAP audit. Now what?
Applying for a USDA audit is fairly simple. The first step is to fill out an audit request form. Remember that the cost of a USDA audit is $92 per hour. This begins when the auditor leaves for the farm. Because of this, you may find it economical to coordinate audits with other growers in your area to minimize the cost.
Before the auditor arrives, you may wish to make sure all your records are in the order that they will be handled on the USDA GAP’s checklist. This is not only good practice, but will probably save you money. The less time you spend flipping through records to get to a necessary document, the less time you have to pay the auditor.
The auditor is looking for evidence of a system written in the GAP Manual to minimize incidence of produce contamination, visual evidence that it is taking place and documentation that it has been taking place in the past. If you are able to show evidence of these three components in place in all aspects of your farm, you will pass an audit.
Growers with specific questions or who are having difficulty tailoring GAPs to their farm are welcome to contact the Agrifood Safety Work Group at email@example.com or 517-788-4292. For more information on requesting a USDA GAP audit, ask for the Guidance Document AFSM020-01.