Food Safety Education

College of the Environment and Life Sciences

Produce Safety for RI Growers

This webpage includes training information and resources related to the Rhode Island’s Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Grower Certification Program as well as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR). The goal of our education and outreach is to reduce foodborne illness associated with growing produce by training RI farmers to identify risk and implement best practices on their farm.


Produce Safety Rule/RI GAP TRAINING 
Next Training: TBD
Add yourself to the waitlist to hear about upcoming trainings.

RI GAP + Produce Safety Rule Training

We offer a merged training that covers requirements  for both RI GAP and the Produce Safety Rule. Both Sejal Lanterman (URI Cooperative Extension) and Ananda Fraser (RI DEM/Division of Agriculture) are FDA Lead Instructors. Through successful completion of this training, farmers can become part of our voluntary RI GAP program and will receive the PSR/AFDO certificate that will prove you have taken the “approved” course per the rule. 

What does GAP mean?
GAP means Good Agricultural Practices. These practices are part of a voluntary food safety program developed by FDA and USDA for fruit and vegetable growers. The goal is to help reduce foodborne illness. The RI GAP program includes key steps that growers can use to reduce or minimize contamination of produce by disease-causing microorganisms. Food safety is everyone’s responsibility from the grower to the consumer. 

What is the RI GAP Program?
The voluntary RI GAP Grower Certification program is a joint effort of the Division of Agriculture, RI Department of Environmental Management, URI Cooperative Extension and RI growers. The program begins with training for growers and their workers on the application of GAP food safety principles at the growing, harvesting, processing and transporting of fresh fruits and vegetables. Once a grower feels they have met the RI GAP guidelines, a URI educational site visit will be set up and eventually a staff person from RI DEM/Division of Ag will perform a food safety audit of the farm.  After a successful audit, the grower will be certified as a RI GAP grower. The farm must be audited every year to maintain their GAP Certification.

What is the FSMA Produce Safety Rule?
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in 2011. It is the first comprehensive federal food safety law in over 70 years. One of the rules that stems from FSMA is the Produce Safety Rule which includes a set of standards that are deemed necessary to minimize microbial risks of fresh produce. 

Do I have to comply with the Produce Safety Rule?

  1. Do you have a produce farm? If you operate a farm business that grows, harvests, packs, or holds produce, the Produce Safety Rule likely applies to you.
  2. Do you process a food product? If you operate a business that processes, packs, manufactures, or holds food, the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Preventive Controls for Human Foods Rule likely applies to you.

If you grow and process food you may be covered by both rules.
Use the RI DEM/Division of Ag’s Produce Safety Rule Coverage Determination Tool to help you understand if the Produce Safety Rule applies to your Farm.

RI/GAP Produce Safety Rule Training Modules

  • Module 1: Introduction to Produce Safety
  • Module 2: Worker Health, Hygiene and Training
  • Module 3: Soil Amendments
  • Module 4: Wildlife, Domestic Animals, and Land Use
  • Module 5: Part 1: Production Water
  • Module 5: Part 2: Postharvest Water
  • Module 6: Postharvest Handling and Sanitation
  • Module 7: How To Write A Food Safety Plan

Funding for this publication was made possible, in part, by the Food and Drug Administration through grant par-16-137. the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the department of health and human services; nor does any mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organization imply endorsement by the united states government.

Produce Safety Resources for Growers

Donating Produce to RI Food Pantries

Many food pantries in Rhode Island have best practices in place to ensure food safe fruits and vegetables for our communities. Check with your local food pantry before dropping off produce to see if they require anything in addition to this document.

Food Systems and Agriculture

CoopExt has many additional grower related programs and resources that you may find helpful. Click to learn more about our Food Systems and Agriculture Strategic Area of Focus.

Food Safety For Farmers Markets and Managers

Guidelines and resources specifically for maintaining the safety of products sold at RI Farmers Markets thereby ensuring economic viability of RI Farmers by decreasing the risk of food borne illness to consumers.

Food Safety Videos via URI CoopExt’s YouTube Channel

Find videos related to produce safety, RI Farm tours, Food Preservation and more!

GAP/PSR Produce Safety Checklist

The purpose of this document is to establish and communicate the criteria for GAP/PSR compliance. Each checklist item is articulated and further elaborated to provide an in-depth understanding of how farms can comply with each requirement.

GAP/PSR Records Templates

Certain records and supporting documents are required for RI GAP and the Produce Safety Rule. Visit this page to access free record templates.

RI GAP CERTIFIED FARMS

A listing of Rhode Island produce growers that are currently RI GAP Certified in partnership with RI Department of Environmental Management/Division of Agriculture.

RI DEM/Division of Agriculture Produce Safety Portal

For fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning more about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), COVID-19 for farmers and co-management of natural resources and food safety.

Selling or Donating Commercially Grown Produce in RI: Licensure, Permits, Certifications, and More

Understanding what is needed in Rhode Island to sell or donate produce from your farm depends on many factors. This webpage will help navigate your decision-making.

Contact

Andy Radin

Sejal Lanterman

Produce Safety Educator, Outreach Coordinator
Email: sejal@uri.edu
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