GAP & Food Safety
At the Southwest Virginia Farmers’ Market, food safety is an integral part of our entire operation and taken very seriously. Our food safety program includes policies and standard operating procedures which address all areas of the packing and warehouse activities such as receiving/distribution, storage, temperature control, pest control, water quality, equipment, staff training, worker health/ hygiene, etc. The program includes a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) manual that outlines specific steps taken to abide by the Food Safety Modernization Act. The GAP manual is reviewed on a yearly basis and updated as needed to remain in compliance with FDA and USDA guidelines.
A Food Safety Program was implemented in 2010, and the facility has been USDA GAP Certified since program inception. The facility was audited in 2013 according to the USDA GAP Harmonization audit and passed the Food Safety Program. The Market Manager and the Market GAP Coordinator are responsible for making sure that all food safety policies and procedures are followed as well as keeping documentation for the program current. A Chain of Command form (4.23) is included in the GAP manual as a provision for the absence of personnel and to communicate the roles and responsibilities of all market staff.
The Southwest Virginia Farmers’ Market staff receive training on Food safety by attending workshops and on an in-house basis. A Staff Training Log (3.31) is included in our GAP manual to ensure that proper training is given as needed.
This facility considers all food safety violations as very serious offenses to our customers who receive and consume our products. A policy established to address Food Safety Violations (2.34) has been implemented and a disciplinary Corrective Action procedure and form (3.24) and is included in our GAP manual.