United Fresh to update harmonized GAP standard

United Fresh to update harmonized GAP standard

The United Fresh Produce Association plans to update the Good Agricultural Practices Harmonized Standard, 10 years after its inception.

United Fresh plans to coordinate the revision process with input from buyers, growers and other industry members to “reflect a deeper understanding of the hazards and risks associated with produce growing and handling environments,” according to a news release.

The process also will focus on making the standard more user-friendly and minimize the possibility of misinterpretation.

Revisions to the Harmonized Standard were released in 2016, with the Food and Drug Administration’s Produce Safety Rule in mind. The new revision process will examine each requirement in its entirety, according to the release. The first step is a meeting of United Fresh’s Technical Working Group Sept. 18-19 in Washington, D.C., following the association’s Washington Conference.

“While the Harmonized has received strong support from a wide variety of produce industry stakeholders over the past ten years, we recognize that there are still some buyers who don’t currently accept the Harmonized for various reasons, or who simply prefer to perform their own company-specific customer audits,” Emily Griep, United Fresh’s manager of food safety, said in the release.

“Though it is a lofty goal to achieve total harmonization of produce safety audits within the industry, we are committed to working with growers and buyers alike to maintain a strong, relevant produce safety standard that emphasizes the need for growers and handlers to acutely understand their respective food safety risks, regardless of size or commodity,” she said in the release.

The working group is looking for produce safety professionals to take part in the process. Contact Griep at 202-303-3401 for more information.