Produce Safety at VAAFM
The Vermont Produce Program's mission is to help to grow Vermont’s produce industry—in the face of regulations and evolving market expectations—by aiding produce farms of all sizes and stages of development to meet food safety requirements, access markets, and promote public health as sustainable agricultural businesses.
FSMA Produce Safety Rule
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most comprehensive reform of our federal food safety laws in over 70 years. The intent of the law is to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. To learn more about FSMA, see our Food Safety Modernization Act page.
VAAFM also conducts Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audits for fresh fruit and vegetable producers. GAP is a voluntary certification program overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). For more information about GAP, visit our USDA GAP & GHP page.
VVBGA Community Accredidation for Produce Safety (CAPS)
Community Accreditation for Produce Safety (CAPS) is a program of the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association (VVBGA). CAPS is a voluntary, practical approach to documenting the use of practices that reduce food safety risks on farms that grow fresh produce. CAPS is a food safety market access program that can be used in lieu of GAP for participating retailers.
Produce Safety Alliance Grower Trainings
The Produce Safety Rule requires at least one responsible party from every covered farm receive training under a FDA recognized curriculum. The Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training course satisfies this requirement. The PSA is a collaboration between Cornell University, FDA and USDA to prepare produce growers to meet th regulatory requirements included in FSMA's Produce Safety Rule. The next PSA Grower Training in Vermont is scheduled for November 7-8, 2017 in Richmond. Sign up here!
The Produce Safety Improvement Grant Program supports Vermont produce growers in implementing on-farm improvements to help prevent or reduce produce safety risks. Click here to learn whether the current grant round is accepting applications.
On-Farm Readiness Reviews (OFRR) - Coming Soon!
On Farm Readiness Reviews are voluntary, non-regulatory, on-farm assessments between a grower and a Produce Safety Rule expert, to help the farm assess their readiness for the PSR prior to inspection. Check back here in the Fall for information on how to request an OFRR.
Agency staff also work closely with the Center for Sustainable Agriculture, University of Vermont Extension, the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association (VVBGA), and the Vermont Department of Health, among other state partners, on produce safety issues and FSMA implementation.
Click here for a collection of additional produce safety related resources and technical assistance partners
If you are a producer or operator with questions or concerns about FSMA or produce safety, we want to hear from you! Contact Dominique Giroux at Dominique.Giroux@vermont.gov or (802) 522-3132 to share your story.