The standards have adopted a generic HACCP approach to establishing critical GAPs on farm, which in a holistic way together contribute to the furtherance of food safety, protection of the environment and worker health and safety. The standards also specify practical requirements for safe on farm packing. A research based system of risk assessments and continuous improvement processes help finding new innovative techniques to reduce adverse effects either way.
GLOBALG.A.P also offers an equivalency mechanism whereby other National GAP schemes such as ChinaGAP can be benchmarked and accepted by market participants as meeting the same requirements as the GLOBALG.A.P reference standard.
• Role of the GAPs Guide (Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.
As a document that focuses on minimizing microbial food safety hazards, it is a comprehensive work. The Guide focuses on Microbial contamination, yet it is called the “GAPs Guide”. This may cause confusion in the market regarding the definition of “Good Agricultural Practices”, which for many includes food safety, environmental, economic and social sustainability criteria. It is recommended to rename future work.
• Identification and prioritization of risk factors
GLOBALG.A.P is taking part in the United Fresh GAPs Harmonization Initiative to work on a harmonized standard for fruit and vegetables in the USA, which is globally compatible. It has become clear that risk factors must be identified and prioritized. Real risks need to be separated from perceived risks and farmer education is then necessary to explain the practicality of how to avoid such risks.
• Environmental assessment of hazards and possible ways of contamination
Guidance to help producers to identify environmental hazards that may pose a risk to food safety, operator health as well as scarce resources needs to be developed. GLOBALG.A.P has set basic requirements that should be considered to develop a basic environmental management plan.
• Impact of scale/size of growing operations
As mentioned on page 1, GLOBALG.A.P has experience since its inception in working with smallholders. It has been proven that they can comply with the necessary requirements. This may be facilitated by a step-wise approach to the final level required and also by supplying additional guidelines that explain implementation step-by-step. Also, group certification, has been successful in the smallholder scenario and multi-site certification for the larger operations. GLOBALG.A.P has developed several tools to help producers of all sizes to implement GAP.