When we say that a type of produce, a produce-growing activity, or a farm or orchard is “covered” under the regulation, we mean that growers who meet the criteria for coverage will need to comply with the farm food safety standards written in the regulation. Not all produce or growing activities are covered. Home gardens are not regulated.
To see where your produce operation fits in the new FSMA PSR scheme, utilize the following tools to determine your operational status:
- Decision Tree
- Basic Exemption
For growers with $25,000 or less (inflation adjusted yearly) of annual produce sales
- Qualified Exemption
For growers who may fall under $500,000 in gross produce or combined agricultural sales who may have sales of exempt product(s) and/or direct or processing sales
- Inspection Qualified
If you think you need an inspection, contact the Produce Program Manager at (304) 558-2226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will review your operation to see if that is indeed the case. Expect that we will recommend an On Farm Readiness Review prior to inspection and check out the FDA’s factsheet to help you prepare for your visit.
Alignment with GAP (Good Agricultural Practices)
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) are voluntary audits that verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards. GAP & GHP audits verify adherence to the recommendations made in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (pdf) and industry recognized food safety practices. In West Virginia, these audits are conducted by WVDA personnel under the supervision of USDA. For more information about this service and associated training opportunities, email email@example.com or contact the Agriculture Business Development Division at (304) 558-2210.
- Harmonized Plus
- Commodity Specific GAP (i.e. mushrooms)
- Cost Share information
For information about funding availability to reduce the financial audit burden on small to mid-size produce farms, please contact members of the WVDA GAP program to discuss your specific needs, approximate costs and if your audit level qualifies you for this WV grower incentive as you try to reach your marketing goals and channels. For additional information and application forms, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Agriculture Business Development Division at (304) 558-2210.
- Looking for a WV GAP audited firm? Go to the USDA page listing all recent successful GAP audits and the commodities available.
- Upcoming Trainings and Resources
- Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Trainings This one day course is required for growers that are under FDA inspection and recommended for all growers as the cornerstone training and produce safety inspection program. An 8-hour course conducted by multi-agency personnel, the course provides you with the knowledge and tools needed for self-assessing and starting a preventive-based “food safety culture” at your farm. Attendance at the entire day is required for certification. Contact Dr. Doolaire Singh-Knights at West Virginia University (304) 293-7606 or DoSingh-Knights@mail.wvu.edu
- Writing Your Farm Food Safety Plan Trainings
- West Virginia Farm Food Safety Training Team
Fruit and Vegetable Inspection
Headquartered in Inwood, West Virginia, WVDA's Fruit and Vegetable staff are responsible for inspecting and grading primarily fruit for quality. Staff members issue certificates of USDA quality for domestic fruit shipments and issue export certificates. Throughout the year, the staff inspects an average of 2 million pounds.
The Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Supervisor also operates under a USDA cooperative agreement to perform GAP Audits for West Virginia farmers/producers. This third party audit is required by some wholesalers, hospitals, retail grocery chains, higher education institutions, and others to guarantee the highest degree of food safety and traceability.
To obtain a GAP audit participants must complete a GAP training class and prepare a Farm Safety Plan. Audit charges are issued by an hourly rate. Those participants who successfully complete a GAP audit are eligible to receive a reimbursement of up to 75 percent of the cost with a maximum of $750. Reimbursement funds are issued via Specialty Crops Block Grant Funds.
To schedule a GAP audit or for further information, contact Derek Richard at 304-229-5828 x7550.