Farmers & Growers

Produce Safety and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)

Fruits and vegetables continue to be associated with foodborne illness outbreaks, including, but not limited to lettuce, spinach, cantaloupe, tomatoes, cilantro, and green onions.

Using good agricultural practices (GAP) is one way that farmers and growers can reduce the risk of microbial contamination of the fruits and vegetables they produce. GAP programs address the safety of water, manure use, sanitation, and personal hygiene practices on the farm, in the field, during harvest, packing, and transportation. 

(This site focuses on farmers who grow fruits and/or vegetables to sell.  If you are a home gardener or hobby farmer, go here to learn how to grow safe food in your garden.)


Food Safety Modernization Act: Produce Safety Rule

The Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) outlines science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fresh fruits and vegetables.

In Connecticut, the compliance activities related to the Rule are the jurisdiction of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg).  

Tools for farmers:  links in the right side menu

Farmers preparing to comply with the Rule, and/or choosing to make safe production and handling a business priority may want to:

  • Attend a Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training course
  • Participate in an On Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) or other one-on-one informational visit from UConn Extension personnel
  • Participate in Market Access Programs for certain buyers of fresh produce, such as the Connecticut GAP or CGAP program of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture or other third party audit programs
  • Use tools for meeting Rule standards, implementing Good Agriculture Practices, writing food safety plans and developing traceback programs

The FDA is proposing a revision to Subpart E (Water rule requirements). If finalized, this would replace the pre-harvest microbial quality criteria and testing requirements in the Produce Safety Rule with requirements for systems-based pre-harvest agricultural water assessments. To read more about the proposed rule and/or comment click here:

Sign up here to be added to our Produce Safety mailing list - be informed about the Produce Safety Rule, produce safety issues, GAP audits and programs, and more.

Funding for this site was made possible, in part, by the Food and Drug Administration through grant PAR-16-137. The views expressed in written materials or publications do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does any mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organization imply endorsement by the United Stated Government.


New Produce Document Provides Clarity on Inspections and Audits: AFDO has released a new collaborative document, AFDO Produce Safety Rule Inspections and Voluntary USDA Audits: Guidance to Help Understand the Differences and Commonalities, to help explain the differences between mandatory requirements of the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) and the requirements within market driven buyer specific audits.

The embedded chart will help to explain differences and commonalities between PSR inspections and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) audits. In some cases, growers may need both an inspection to satisfy the regulatory requirement and an audit to meet a market driven buyer requirement.  Growers may fall under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR) and be subject to regulatory inspections depending on commodities grown, covered activities performed, and the dollar amount of sales over a three-year average.

Some growers may also have a market driven buyer requirement for an audit. The term inspection and audit are commonly confused and this document may help to provide better clarity. 

More resources to consider:

Agricultural Water - Pre- and Post-Production

Food Safety Plans

Harvest Tools

Tools for farmers

Worker health and hygiene

Wildlife and domestic animals

Biological soil amendments


Agricultural water:  Production

Agricultural water:  Post-harvest       

Post-harvest handling

Writing a food safety plan

Trace-back programs

Worker training resources

Produce Safety Contacts

Indu Upadhyaya, DVM, MVSc, PhD
Cell: 860-786-8191 (preferred)
Phone: 860-871-0776

Diane Wright Hirsch, MPH

CT Dept. of Agriculture
Fruit & Veg Inspection Programs
Phone: 860-713-2522

Produce Safety Rule and Implementation

Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety
The Rule, implementation, coverage, exemptions, compliance.
Produce Safety Rule FDA guidance documents
Record/documentation requirements

Food safety standards addressed in the Rule 
Implementation of the Rule in Connecticut
Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training


Market access and audit programs

USDA and other third party GAP audit information

Connecticut Department of Agriculture CGAP program

Writing a food safety plan


OFRRs (On Farm Readiness Review) and other one-on-one farm food safety assistance

Farm worker training: A day in the life of a farm worker: Part l: Safe Harvesting Practices

Capacitación de Trabajadores Agrícolas – Prácticas de Cosecha Segura

Farm worker training: A day in the life of a farm worker: Part II: Safe Post-harvest Practices

Capacitación de Trabajadores Agrícolas | Prácticas Seguras de Poscosecha