USDA GAP & GHP (Good Agricultural Practices & Good Handling Practices)

Program Overview

In October of 1998, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food & Drug Administration, in response to food safety concerns, issued guidance documents for the fresh fruit & vegetable industry that provides guidance for reducing the possibility of contamination of fresh produce by microbial organisms. Shortly thereafter, many wholesale produce companies began to seek assurances that fresh produce suppliers were following the Good Agricultural Practices that these documents recommended.

In January 2002, the USDA implemented the USDA GAP & GHP audit verification program.

This program is an audit based service. It is provided in order to assess a company's efforts to minimize the possibility of contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables by microbial contamination. Audits are intended to occur on a scheduled basis with an annual minimum. The responsibility for continuing product safety and the continued observance of practices leading to a minimized possibility of microbial contamination rests with the company.

Auditors for this program are licensed by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Fresh Products Branch.

The mission of this program is to provide a uniformly applied national program for the U.S fresh produce industry for purposes of verification with GAP & GHP.

Fee Schedule

Inspection $92.00/hour
Travel $92.00/hour
Annual Administrative fee $50.00/year

Additional Resources

For additional Program information, visit USDA GAP & GHP.

Vermont farms seeking assistance in preparation for GAP certification should contact:

To schedule an audit, contact:

David Tremblay

Agricultural Production Specialist
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
116 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05620-2901
Office: (802) 828-2426
Cell: (802) 793-2517
Fax: (802) 828-5983

GAP Audit Reimbursement

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) previously offered funding through a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant to provide farmers financial assistance with USDA GAP audits. This funding is no longer available. 
Hannaford currently offers a recurring reimbursement of up to $750 for each local grower (in ME, NH, MA, VT, and NY) to help cover the cost of a successful Hannaford-approved food safety audit. The reimbursement will cover USDA GAP, Harmonized GAP, Global GAP, SQF 1000, and Massachusetts Commonwealth Quality. The audit must be done on one or more crops sold to Hannaford. For more information about Hannaford's Food Safety Reimbursement Program, contact the Produce Manager at the store(s) where you’d like to deliver or contact Chelsea Wagner at or (207) 885-3546.