Preparing For Your Audit:


The best way to protect yourself in times when a food-borne illness is suspected to come from your farm is to be totally prepared with documentation. Good documentation of your best practices is like a form of insurance. While it may seem like an unnecessary burden, having a personalized on-farm food safety manual which details all your food safety supervisor responsiblities, protection plans, trainings, and the daily records of temperatures, shipments, employee health, etc. is a prudent investment.

The following steps are suggested to get your farm ready for an audit:

  1. follow all the steps outlined above to clean up your farm - remember to think of it as a kitchen!
  2. develop a manual that fits for your operation. The manual needs to include what you are doing about
    • FARM REVIEW
      1. How you are implementing your farm's food safety program
      2. Worker healthy and hygiene
      3. Water usage
    • FIELD HARVEST AND FIELD PACKAGING ACTIVITIES
      1. Worker sanitation and hygiene
      2. Field harvesting and transportation
    • HOUSE PACKING FACILITY
      1. Receiving
      2. Washing/packing line
      3. Worker health and personal hygiene
      4. Packaginghouse general housekeeping
    • STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION
      1. Containers & pallets
      2. Pest control
      3. Ice
      4. Storage/temperature control
      5. Transportation/loading
    • TRACEBACK
    • PREVENTATIVE FOOD SECURITY PROCEDURES
    This USDA website provides a basic overview of the areas you will need to cover in a manual: http://www.ams.usda.gov/FV/fpbgapghp.htm
  3. use the manual to guide your improvements and document your procedures
  4. if you have questions, contact your local cooperative extension service
  5. call in a 3rd party auditor
  6. if you do not pass the audit the first time, make the necessary improvements and get the auditor back quickly
  7. once you have passed, if desired, have the auditor post the general results of the audit so that buyers can feel assured that you are following Good Agricultural and Good Handling Practices