Produce Safety: Producers

Producer Home

As a produce grower it is very important to have a thorough understanding of the various risks and sources of contamination on the farm.  Once the risks are identified, there are many food safety practices producers and food handlers can implement beginning at the farm level and throughout the supply chain to the market place. These practices are called Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and relate to water and soil quality, especially as impacted by wildlife and livestock management; worker health and hygiene including proper produce handling during production, harvest, and post-harvest; equipment, tools, and facilities; and ensuring traceability of the product from the farm to the marketplace. Some examples of GAPs include periodic testing of irrigation water to make sure it is potable; treating water if it is non-potable; restricting wildlife access to produce areas using fencing or other deterrents; making sure workers are properly trained in hand washing and other hygienic practices; sanitizing bins and tools before harvesting; having a good recordkeeping system to track product. 

Since the food safety training needs you might have can vary widely, we have consistently organized the website content in the Producer Section as shown in the tree graphic below:


Regardless of the specific training needs identified (shown in the crown of the tree), a solid foundation in production and marketing principles, and a working knowledge of on-farm risk-based food safety fundamentals, is essential.  The crown of the tree represents various targeted training levels based on market and regulatory requirements:

  • Direct market growers and market managers;
  • Growers who may be in a transition stage of developing a written food safety plan and implementing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP);
  • Growers fulfilling buyer requirements by obtaining third party GAP certification or recertification;
  • Growers needing to comply with the Produce Safety or Preventive Controls Rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The purpose of the Producer section of the website is to provide you with the guidance and tools needed to understand market access, and identify various risks and sources of contamination, in order to implement on-farm food safety practices. There are four main subsections:

  1. Accessing Markets: looks at various characteristics, requirements, and hurdles for accessing various market sectors;
  2. Producer Decision Tree: provides guidance for determining specific educational resources to help meet different producer training needs;
  3. Producer FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions): expert advice from the Fresh Produce Food Safety Team and other sources on various frequently asked questions;
  4. Producer Resources: clearinghouse of information and links to materials producers can access to learn about food safety requirements and implementing on-farm food safety practices.

FAQ On Farm Food Safety