Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Management Practices (GHP): A Framework to Minimize Food Safety Risks on the Farm | Extension | University of Nevada, Reno (2023)


Approximately 48 million people in the United States get sick each year, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne illnesses (CDC, 2011). In recent years, fruits and vegetables have continued to be implicated in major outbreaks of foodborne illness. The risks arise from an increasingly global food system and an aging population, and because fresh produce is often eaten raw. Because food can become contaminated at many points along the marketing chain and the costs involved can be so high, it is important that growers, packers, and shippers reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness through Good Practices. Agricultural (BPA).

The costs to the government, the manufacturer/packer/shipper, and individuals from foodborne illness are significant. Nationally, foodborne illness is estimated to cost $10 billion annually (Buzby et al., 1996). The costs to a person affected by a foodborne illness can be severe and include lost income and productivity, health care costs, and the cost of death to the family (Buzby et al., 1996). Costs to the producer include legal costs and fines, lost sales when consumers avoid the product, loss of farm reputation, and loss of farm business.

Despite significant concerns, the vast majority of fresh produce in the United States is healthy and safe to eat. However, diseases caused by viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria are important and can be reduced by proactive measures. The best approach to maintaining quality and safety on the farm is to be aware of potential risks and to identify and implement management practices that minimize the risk of contamination from growing and selling fresh produce. Fortunately, many management practices that help ensure food safety also improve or maintain product quality.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)

Good Agricultural Practices are practices not based on regulations developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce the risk and prevalence of foodborne illness in the production of fresh fruits and vegetables. GAPs generally cover pre-harvest (field) practices, while GHPs cover post-harvest practices, including packing and shipping. These science-based recommendations help minimize microbial food safety hazards during growing, harvesting, packing and transporting agricultural products by focusing on the following key components: water, manure, worker health and hygiene , facilities, field sanitation, packaging and transportation plant sanitation (FDA , 1998). Becoming familiar with these components can help you understand the risks and design management practices that mitigate microbial food safety risks.

Practices to minimize microbial contamination are most effective when tailored to specific operations due to the range of raw materials, growing conditions, and production practices that can affect the production system. Being aware of the risks and implementing management practices that address the risks is an effective response to ensure a safe product. Beyond the main components of GAP above, eight basic principles that minimize microbial risks to food safety are outlined.

principle 1Avoiding microbial contamination is the key principle in maintaining food safety in fresh produce. Once something is contaminated, removing or killing the microbial pathogen is difficult and often futile.

principle 2The implementation of GAP and GHP must be implemented in the areas under the control of operations.

Principle 3.Microbial contamination is possible from producer to consumer. The main source of contamination are enteric microorganisms or those associated with human or animal feces.

principle 4The source of the water and its quality determine the potential for contamination. The potential for contamination of fresh produce is significant and must be minimized.

Principle 5.Farms that use manure or biosolids must handle the material in a way that reduces the risk of contamination.

principle 6The workers are essentially shopkeepers. Therefore, industrial hygiene and sanitation practices are essential to minimize microbial contamination of fresh produce.

principle 7Comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations, and similar laws, regulations, and standards for operators outside of the United States for agricultural practices.

principle 8Accountability in the marketing channel is essential to the success of a food safety program. Monitoring and traceability from the vendor to the distributor and manufacturer must be in place for an effective food safety program (FDA, 1998).

CAP food safety plan

Implementing GAP and documenting practices in a food safety plan helps organize the steps needed to maintain food safety and reduce risk from farm to table. Ellis et al. (2004) describe five steps to create a food safety plan: list actions taken, identify contamination risk points, monitor potential risk areas, adjust procedures as necessary, and document changes or modifications. Many extension offices offer food safety plan templates that can guide prospects through the plan development process. Regardless of the method or organization, the plan must be practical for the person or organization using it.

CAPs reduce risk

Economic risks associated with food safety include, but are not limited to, litigation, loss of revenue, farm reputation, and loss of farm business. When chives were implicated in an outbreak of hepatitis A, the farms that had implemented GAP maintained a fairly constant volume of sales and the demand for their other products was not affected; while farms that did not implement GAP saw a 50 percent drop in spring onion sales volume and a 30 percent drop in demand for other products. In addition to the lost sales, the seller of the spring onions paid more than US$50 million in compensation (Calvin et al., 2004).

CAPs can also improve market access, particularly to those markets that require a guarantee of security. These may include, but are not limited to, hospitals, local schools, senior centers, and marketing cooperatives.


Food safety programs benefit both the producer and the consumer. Risks can be minimized and a food safety program need not be complex or expensive. The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and the Nevada Department of Agriculture can help you prepare to implement GAP in your production system and GAP certification, respectively.


Quality resources exist in a variety of institutions and government agencies. The following list provides additional resources that can help raise awareness and minimize the risk of microbial contamination of products. The list is not exhaustive and is based on the author's perceived ease of use, understanding, and application in Nevada.


Buzby, J.C., Roberts, T., Lin, C.T.J. and MacDonald, J.M. Foodborne Bacterial Illnesses: Medical Costs and Productivity Losses. Economic Studies Service. Agricultural Report No. 741, 1996.

Calvin, L., Avendaño, B., Schwentesius, R. (2004). The economics of food security: the case of green onions and hepatitis A outbreaks. Electronic Forecast Report of the Economic Research Service. Retrieved from The Economics of Food Safety: The Case of Green Onions and Hepatitis A Outbreaks, 2013.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Estimates 2011: Results. Retrieved from: Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States, April 12, 2013.

Ellis, J., Henroid, D., Strohben, C., and Wilson, L. Food Safety on the Farm: A Guide to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). University of Iowa Extension, 2004.

Food and medication management. Guide to minimizing microbial food safety hazards in fresh fruits and vegetables. 1998. Retrieved from: Guide to Minimizing Microbial Hazards for Food Safety in Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, April 12, 2013.


What is the Good Agricultural Practices GAP certification program? ›

The Good Agricultural Practice Certification program is being promoted and facilitated by the Regulatory Division in order to ensure food safety and assure quality of agricultural products while keeping high regard for environmental protection and that of workers health, safety and welfare.

What is the Code of Good Agricultural Practices GAP for food safety? ›

The practices in this Code of GAP are aimed towards prevention and minimization of risk occurrences which include those of food safety, environmental impact, worker health, safety and welfare, and product quality.

What are the difference between good agricultural practices GAP and good hygiene practices GHP? ›

GAP covers on-farm production and harvesting practices while GHP covers packing, storage, and the distribution of crops. The responsibility for product safety and the continued observance of best practices rests with the operation producing and handling the fresh product.

How do I get GAP certification? ›

Documents required to apply for a gap certificate
  1. ID proof (PAN Card/Voter ID/Driving License/Aadhar Card)
  2. Transfer certificate.
  3. Authentication declaration from previous institution.
  4. Proof of residency.
  5. Proof of citizenship.
  6. Marksheet of the last qualifying exam.
  7. Documentation supporting reason of gap.
Jan 12, 2023

What are the benefits of Good Agricultural Practices GAP )? ›

What are the Benefits of MyGAP Certification?
  • Generates quality agricultural products that are healthy for consumption.
  • Reduces environmental emissions and helps grow the national agriculture sector in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way.

What are the 7 agricultural practices? ›

The 7 steps involved in agricultural practices are mentioned below:
  • Ploughing.
  • Sowing.
  • Adding nutrients.
  • Irrigation.
  • Protecting plants.
  • Harvesting.
  • Storage.

What is the purpose of good agricultural practices GAP guidelines and what are four factors related to GAP? ›

The purpose of GAPs is to give logical guidance in implementing best management practices that will help to reduce the risks of microbial contamination of fruits and vegetables. Examples of GAPs include worker hygiene and health, manure use and water quality throughout the production and harvesting process.

What are GAPs and why are they be important food law? ›

The Importance of GAPs and Food Safety

Good Agricultural Practices, or GAPs, refer to the steps taken at the farm level to lower the risk of contaminating produce with dangerous pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria.

What are 5 agricultural practices? ›

List of Agricultural Practices
  • Landscape management.
  • Soil/land preparation.
  • Sowing.
  • Manuring.
  • Irrigation.
  • Weeding.
  • Integrated pest management.
  • Integrating livestock and crops.

What is GAP and GHP? ›

Good Agricultural Practices & Good Handling Practices (GAP & GHP) Audit Services Flyer.

What is the difference between GAP and GMP? ›

GMPs regulate the production, for example, of acidified foods (such as pickles), fruit preserves (jams and jellies), baked goods, dressings and condiments, and frozen fruits and vegetables. GAPs are suggested guidance, not regulation, and they apply to the production of fresh produce.

What are the four modules of good agricultural practices GAP? ›

Describes how ASEAN GAP was developed, and outlines the structure ASEAN GAP, consisting of four modules, i.e. food safety, environmental management, worker health, safety and welfare, and produce quality.

What is GHP good hygiene practices? ›

Good Hygiene Practices (GHPs): Fundamental measures and conditions applied at any step within the food chain to provide safe and suitable food. Good Hygiene Practices are the set of requirements to prevent contamination of food in order to provide safe food to the consumers.

How much does gap certification cost? ›

Gap Certificate Online

After filling in your details, you can then get in touch with a notary or a lawyer to get the stamp which will cost 70 INR to 150 INR.

How long does it take to get GAP certificate? ›

We provide the service of GAP certificate in Karnataka, Our service includes drafting + execution + notary + home deliver in 2 working days.

Who will provide GAP certificate? ›

The gap certificate should be provided by the legal authorities signed by the official person. The certificate is a non-judicial stamp paper that a candidate can get by visiting the district court or contacting any lawyer. There will be nominal charges which candidates have to pay to the judicial.

What are the principles of GAP in agriculture? ›

These four 'pillars' of GAP (economic viability, environmental sustainability, social acceptability and food safety and quality) are included in most private and public sector standards, but the scope which they actually cover varies widely.

What is the importance of GAP to farmers as producer of food? ›

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is a set of standards for the safe and sustainable production of crops and livestock. It aims to help farm owners maximize yields and optimize business operations while also minimizing production costs and environmental impact.

What is the purpose of GAP in agriculture? ›

Good agricultural practices (GAP) pertain to on-farm production and post-production processes that are being advanced so that the food produced by farms are safe to eat and are of good quality.

What are the 12 types of agriculture? ›

Types of Farms: 15 Different Types of Farming
  • Aquaculture Farming.
  • Cooperative Farming.
  • Hay Farming.
  • Organic Farming.
  • Urban Farming.
  • Nomadic Farming.
  • Sedentary Farming.
  • Intensive Farming.
Apr 20, 2022

What are the 10 steps of agriculture? ›

Agriculture & Agricultural Practices
  • Soil preparation. Before raising a crop, the soil in which it is to be grown is prepared by ploughing, levelling, and manuring. ...
  • Sowing. Selection of seeds of good quality crop strains is the primary stage of sowing. ...
  • Manuring. ...
  • Irrigation. ...
  • Weeding. ...
  • Harvesting. ...
  • Storage.

What are the 4 types of agriculture? ›

Shifting Cultivation (rotating crops). Intensive Pastoral Farming (focused on grazing animals). Subsistence Cultivation (seeking out a living; often done for consumption by family). Commercial Cultivation (usually focused on cash crops such as cocoa, cotton, palm oil, etc.

What is the main concept of good agricultural practices? ›

Good Agricultural Practices, or GAPs, are voluntary guidelines for produce farmers to reduce the risk of microbial contamination related to food borne illnesses on their farms. The guidelines are based on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Guide to Minimizing Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Produce.

What are the 4 specific constraints on agricultural development? ›

Production constraints have been identified that contribute to explaining the yield gap, i.e. limited water availability, limited nutrient availability, inadequate crop protection, insufficient or inadequate Page 4 Major Challenging Constraints to Crop Production Farming System and Possible Breeding to Overcome the ...

How can we reduce the food GAP? ›

Improve soil and water management: Farmers can increase crop yields on existing agricultural land by implementing a suite of soil and water management practices such as agroforestry and water harvesting.

What does food GAP mean? ›

The food gap measures how much food is needed to raise consumption at every income level to meet the nutritional target of 2,100 calories per capita per day, a minimum intake to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle.

What are the three 3 main consequences for non compliance of the food safety standards? ›

Consequences could include a greater risk of contamination, a higher rate of food poisoning incidents, bad publicity and the possibility of prosecution.

What is the purpose of GAP certification? ›

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audits are voluntary audits that verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards.

What are the four modules of Good Agricultural Practices GAP? ›

Describes how ASEAN GAP was developed, and outlines the structure ASEAN GAP, consisting of four modules, i.e. food safety, environmental management, worker health, safety and welfare, and produce quality.

Why is it important to be certified by PhilGAP? ›

Many food companies also require farmer suppliers to be PhilGAP-certified, in order to serve healthy and environmentally-safe food. This leads to benefits for consumers as well.

What does gap stand for in food safety? ›

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is a voluntary certification program which verifies through an audit that sound food safety practices are being used. This helps reduce the risk of microbial contamination in fruits, vegetables and nuts and aims to make sure these foods are safe for you to eat.

What are GAP requirements? ›

G.A.P. requires farms, raw material manufacturers, processing facilities, packaged product manufacturers, retailers, and foodservice establishments to abide by defined chain of custody protocols to ensure that all G.A.P. certified meat products are labeled and segregated properly before they are available for purchase.

What are the benefits of global gap certification? ›

Key Benefits:

Ensure your sourcing by developing a network of reliable producers. Ensure traceability of your products right to the farm level. Benefit from GLOBAL G.A.P.'s unique world-class system including the Integrity Program, which assures certification reliability and high auditing performance.

What is myGAP certification? ›

Malaysian Good Agricultural Practice (myGAP)

A certification scheme designed by the Department of Agriculture in 2002 to give recognition to farms that adopt APB with an environmentally friendly concept, safeguarding the welfare and safety of workers to produce quality, safe and edible products.

How long is the validity of PhilGAP certification? ›

Application and cost of required analysis for PhilGAP certification shall be free of charge. In cases of non-compliance to Page 11 standards, subsequent cost of laboratory analyses shall be shouldered by the applicant. 18.2 The validity period of the certificate is two years (2) from the date of issuance.

Do farmers have any certification? ›

A Farmer Certification is a type of recognition that verifies an individual's experience and knowledge in the agricultural industry, including topics such as food production, pest management, soil and water conservation, and environmental stewardship.

What are the reasons for gapping in agriculture? ›

It has been documented that implementation of GAP encourages promotion of the optimum use of resources such as pesticides, fertilizers, and water, and eco-friendly agriculture. Its social dimension would be to protect the agricultural workers' health from improper use of chemicals and pesticides.

What is GAP quality standards? ›

According to Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations(FAO), Good Agricultural Practices(GAP) are set of principles, regulations and technical recommendations applicable to production, processing and food transport, ensuring safety and quality of produce in the supply chain, capturing new market advantages by ...

What is GMP compliance requirements? ›

The CGMP regulations for drugs contain minimum requirements for the methods, facilities, and controls used in manufacturing, processing, and packing of a drug product. The regulations make sure that a product is safe for use, and that it has the ingredients and strength it claims to have.


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