Image of Farming

In October 1998 the U.S Department of Agriculture and the U.S Food & Drug Administration, in response to food safety concerns, issued guidance documents for the fresh fruit & vegetable industry that provide 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 at a minimum of once a year. The responsibility for continuing product safety and the continued observance of practices leading to a minimized possibility of microbial contamination rest 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 USDA GAP & GHP, or Produce GAPS Harmonized Audits.

To apply for a USDA Fresh Produce audit by MDAR, complete and submit:

1.)     Audit Request Questionnaire doc format of USDA AUDIT AP form.doc

2.)     Audit Participation Form FV 651

3.)     Audit Request form FV 237 (10-10)-1

For more information click on links below:

    • USDA General Audit information page
    • Massachusetts Water Quality Standards (applicable sections below)
      • Inland Water Class A (314 CMR 4.05, 3a, source of public water supply and their tributaries) 
        • Potable water; not to exceed 20 e-coli organisms/100ml
      • Inland Water Class B (314 CMR 4.05, 3b, waters designated as wildlife habitat and for primary/secondary contact recreation)
        • Suitable for irrigation and other agricultural uses; not to exceed 126 e-coli colonies/100ml
      • Inland Water Class C (314 CMR 4.05, 3c, waters designated as wildlife habitat and for secondary contact recreation)
        • Suitable for irrigation of crops used for consumption after cooking, not to exceed 630 e-coli colonies/100ml