Changes to the Field Operations and Harvesting Harmonized Food Safety Standards have been approved by the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Technical Working Group, according to a news release from the United Fresh Produce Association.

The updated version of the harmonized standards will be in effect Nov. 1, and is posted on the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative website, .

The goal of the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative, according to the release, is one audit by any credible third party, acceptable to all buyers. The initiative developed food safety Good Agricultural Practices standards and audit checklists for pre- and post-harvest operations, according to the release. The standards apply to all fresh produce commodities, all sizes of on-farm operations and all regions in the U.S., and are available for use by any operation for at no cost, according to the release.

David Gombas, senior vice president of food safety and technology for United Fresh, said six changes were approved by the working group in July 2012.

Gombas said operations can still use the 2011 version through October.

For more information on the Harmonized Standards, contact Erin Grether, United Fresh’s Government Affairs & Science Policy Coordinator at 202-303-3400 or