Co-Managing Farm Stewardship with Food Safety GAPs and Conservation Practices: A Grower’s and Conservationists’ Handbook

Food safety has become a prominent issue for growers, and conservationists who assist them, in planning and installing stewardship practices. With FDA’s Produce Rule published in November 2015, many growers are taking steps to make changes to their management plans so they come into compliance, while others are upgrading what they have already put into place.

fs-ComanagingStewardshipOn-farm food safety requirements by private industry or the government may be perceived as in conflict with conservation practices; too often the actions taken make this a reality. Consequently, agricultural food safety requirements, or independent actions taken to ensure compliance and continued market access, affect the work of conservation planners and stewardship growers.

The good news is that in the preamble to FDA’s Produce Rule, FDA states “We continue to encourage the co-management of food safety, conservation, and environmental protection.” This holds true for many parts of the rule, including those that address wildlife, water and soils.

This document describes many opportunities for making the farm safer by reducing pathogen presence with conservaton practices, while also covering some challenges that should be managed. It covers how pathogens get on the farm, the prevalence of pathogens in wildlife and livestock, and environmental factors that influence pathogen reduction. A multi-barrier approach is presented where conservation practices and food safety Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) can be used to reduce food safety risk.

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Carli Fraccarolli

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