The Agricultural Marketing Service has upgraded its list of accepted companies from a static document to a searchable database.
The list of companies that meet good agricultural practices and good handling practices as prescribed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture was first posted in 2002, said Chip Taylor, AMS acting deputy director. More than 1,500 unique visitors use the online list monthly.
With the new searchable database format, users can now look for companies using several variables, including location, commodity and audit type. To access the list, visit tinyurl.com/AMS-audit-list.
Taylor said retailers, foodservice providers and other fresh produce buyers use the list to verify audits and other details about their fresh produce suppliers. It also serves as a tool for potential bidders on USDA commodity purchases to find GAP- and GHP-certified growers, as required by the commodity purchase program.
“Users provided comments on their experience trying to find information, and we listened,” Taylor said. “They wanted the information to be more user-friendly. Our in-house programmers did a great job building the database and the website reporting function.”
Taylor said several school districts are already using the new database to source produce for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program from growers who are GAP- and GHP-certified.
As part of the verification process, the AMS uses unannounced visits throughout the season to ensure growers comply with program requirements and their own food safety programs.