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Enhancing The Safety of Locally Grown Produce: Farm Self-Help Form


FST-35NP (FST-332NP)

Authors as Published

Renee Boyer, Professor, Extension Specialist, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech  

Training, Certifications and Food Safety Plans
Our farm has established food safety rules and practices that are included in our food safety plan.      
Our farm has completed food safety trainings and/or certification courses.      
Our farm has records of certification or evidence of training to help ensure food safety.      
Land, Soil Amendments & Water Use
I know the land use history, whether the farm was previously used for livestock production or has a history of application of biosolids, septage or other by-products containing feces.      
My crop production areas are separate from or NOT located near dairy, livestock or poultry production areas or where run-off from such areas could be possible.      
If crop production areas are near or adjacent to dairy, livestock or poultry production areas, I make sure natural or physical barriers will prevent contamination of the produce growing area by wind or water.      
If I use raw animal manure, I wait at least 120 days between application and harvest for crops touching the soil and 90 days for crops where the edible portions do not touch the soil.      
I NEVER use septage or untreated human manure in crop production.      
Any composted manure or other soil amendment of animal origin I use follows the U.S. EPA or National Organic Program scientifically validated recommendations for temperature, turning and time to reduce disease-causing microorganisms.      
I monitor my fields for the presence of animals that could leave behind feces that could contaminate my pro- duce.      
I take steps, such as fencing, decoys, etc. to keep animals out of my fields and water sources.      
I have water that I use for overhead irrigation tested for levels of generic E. coli bacteria.      
I have my well water tested for the presence or absence of generic E. coli bacteria before I use it to rinse fruits and vegetables.      
I NEVER use surface water (ponds, lakes, streams or springs) for rinsing fruits and vegetables.      
Farm Worker Hygiene
I have policies in place to limit sick workers from coming in contact with fruits and vegetables.      
I provide sanitation training for my workers.      
I provide training for my workers on proper glove use.      
My workers have access to toilets and handwashing facilities with clean water, soap and paper towels within a short walking distance of my fields.      
My workers have access to toilets and handwashing facilities within a short walking distance of my packing areas.      
I train my workers to seek immediate first aid for injuries like cuts, abrasions, etc. that could be a source of contamination for produce.      
I have trained my workers on what to do with produce that comes in contact with blood or other bodily fluids.      
Facilities & Equipment
Toilet facilities are serviced and cleaned on a regular schedule.      
Handwashing facilities are cleaned and stocked with clean water, soap and paper towels on a regular schedule.      
Harvesting equipment (knives, pruners, machetes, etc.) is kept reasonably clean and is sanitized on a regular basis.      
Harvesting containers are cleaned and sanitized between uses.      
Hauling equipment is cleaned and sanitized between uses.      
Surfaces that come in contact with fruits and vegetables at my farm are cleaned and sanitized regularly.      
Containers used with fruits and vegetables are cleaned and sanitized between each use.      
Damaged containers are properly repaired or discarded.      
Any cardboard boxes used are new and only used once.      
Storage & Transport
Produce is handled carefully and packed securely to prevent bruising and injury.      
I cool fruits and vegetables after harvest.      
Produce is kept cool during transport to market.      
The vehicle is NOT used to transport animals, raw manure, chemicals or any other potential contaminant.      
The vehicle used to transport fruits and vegetables is cleaned frequently.      

If you answered “no” to any of the questions, those questions represent areas where changes or improvements may help your farm to offer safer products, attract more customers because of your commitment to food safety and reduce potential risk of foodborne illness. Please read the Enhancing the Safety of Locally Grown Produce factsheets for your risk area to learn how to minimize risk.

This project was supported all, or in part, by a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture (Award Number 2009-51110-20161) and the Food Safety Outreach Program [grant no. 2016 0020-25888/project accession no. 1010671] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Publication #FDNS-E-168-1, 2nd Edition. J.A. Harrison, J.W. Gaskin, M.A. Harrison, J. Cannon, R. Boyer, G. Zehnder and K. Woods.

The University of Georgia and Ft. Valley State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and counties of the state cooperating. Cooperative Extension, the University of Georgia Colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Family and Consumer Sciences, offers educational programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, age, gender or disability. An Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Organization, Committed to a Diverse Work Force.


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Publication Date

August 14, 2019