USDA is encouraging specialty crops stakeholders to submit comments to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) on the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) application for the USDA Harmonized GAP Plus+ standard to be recognized as technically equivalent to GFSI’s food safety benchmarking requirements.
USDA undertook the technical equivalence process at the request of the specialty crops industry to align the USDA Good Agricultural Practices Program with industry recognized food safety audit requirements and to provide the specialty crops sector with a single government-based certification program that meets multiple market access requirements.
USDA Harmonized GAP Plus+ Standard, an extension of the existing USDA Harmonized GAP audit, is based on the Produce GAPs Harmonized Food Safety Standard, an industry-led initiative to reduce the need for multiple, often duplicative audits that specialty crops producers are required to undergo for market access.
As part of the evaluation process, GFSI has opened a 30-day public stakeholder consultation period seeking comments on AMS’ application for GFSI technical equivalence. The application was posted May 23, 2018. Submit comments on the GFSI website under Technical Equivalence, Consultations.
The pursuit of GFSI technical equivalence continues USDA’s commitment to growing marketing opportunities for specialty crops producers, increasing purchasing options for buyers, and providing consumers with access to more and diverse fresh, local produce.
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