Much-anticipated updates to the Food Safety Modernization Act regulations are expected as soon as this month. The FDA has been working on draft regulations that will affect almond producers throughout the supply chain.
At the grower level, more emphasis will be placed on ensuring that good agricultural practices (GAPs) are in place as the first line of defense in food safety. Almond Board resources, including a GAP manual and quick-start guide, are available at AlmondBoard. com/Growers/GAPs to help growers define those practices and develop a plan following the eight basic principles of GAPs: 1. Documentation; 2. Employee Training; 3. Soil Amendment Practices; 4. Water Quality; 5. Orchard Floor Management; 6. Field Sanitation and Employee Hygiene; 7. Pest Control; and 8. Harvest and Delivery Sanitation.
Now is a great time to review your existing GAP program to ensure it is up to date and reflects actual practices. If you don’t have a GAP plan, now is also a great time to get started! With requirements looming from the FDA, you can rest assured that more emphasis will be placed on prevention. Prevention begins in the orchard, and by following a documented GAP program, you are doing your part.