To keep food safe, limit eating and smoking in harvest areas

Keeping food safe requires farm workers limit non-harvest activities to areas outside the production area. Here are some things to consider.

Farm workers are often the biggest contributor to safe food. Everything they do, no matter how inconsequential, can either reduce or contribute to the safety of the food you grow. Being specific about critical things that farm workers do is important to state in your GAP Manual.

Take a moment to think through where you want farm workers to eat and drink. Do you want it confined to a designated break area? Is it sufficient for them to eat, drink and take breaks just outside the harvest area? Is there adequate room for them to have breaks and lunch just outside the harvest area? In the policy, indicate exactly where you want your harvest workers to engage in these activities. Encourage this behavior by conveniently placing restrooms and hand-washing stations in this area as well.

Below you will find a sample eating and smoking policy taken and amended from the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station’s GAP Manual Template. You may adjust this language to fit your operations and circumstances.

Eating and Smoking Policy
Eating, smoking, chewing gum and tobacco are NOT permitted in the harvest area, however, they are allowed in the perimeter of the harvest area and designated areas on the farm. The only liquids allowed in the field are clear water.

If you have specific questions about writing an eating and smoking policy or have difficulty tailoring GAPs to your farm, contact the Agrifood Safety Work Group at or 517-788-4292. To obtain a guidance document on worker policies, ask for guidance document AFSM011-01.

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