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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Farm Food Safety: Compliance Documentation - Field Operations

Part 5 of Preparing Your Farm Food Safety Plan

- Meredith Melendez and Wes Kline
The USDA Good Agricultural Practices audit requires that certain activities on the farm be documented. These logs should accurately reflect what you have done on the farm to ensure food safety. If you do not write your activities down the auditor will assume that the activity never happened. This documentation may be new for many growers, sample logs are available on the Rutgers Vegetable Crops Food Safety page under the manual forms tab

What field operations logs will you need to have as a part of your farm food safety plan?

Water Source Testing Log

This log ensures the quality and safety of the water used on the farm. All farm water sources need testing that includes generic e. coli. Municipal water, well water and surface water are required to have test results as part of your farm food safety plan. Municipal water sources need an annual test report, well water should be tested at least once a year and surface water three times a year (at planting, at peak-use, and about two weeks before harvest.) Wells used for drinking water and packing shed water will need a normal water test used for household wells, and need to include generic e. coli as well. The water testing log should include:
  • Date of sampling
  • Water source location
  • Sample ID
  • Date the sample was sent to the lab
  • Lab ID
  • Date lab results were received
  • Were corrective measures needed? If so, what measures were needed?
  • Date the corrective measures were completed
  • Employee’s initials

Employee Food Safety Education and Training Log

The employee food safety education and training log indicates that each employee has had sufficient food safety training. Employees should receive this training annually. Employees given additional training or re-training can be indicated on this log as well. As noted in the previous column, the Cornell GAPs Fruits Vegetables and Food Safety: Health and Hygiene on the Farm – Worker Training Video is available through the Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension office in Cumberland County. The employee food safety education and training log should include:
  • Date of training
  • Topic of training
  • Training facilitator
  • Materials used and/or handouts used for training
  • Employees name, job title, and signature for each employee attending training

Restroom and Toilet Facility Maintenance Log

Your farm food safety plan should include a regular schedule for cleaning the restrooms. This includes in-house cleanings for permanent bathroom facilities and a service record for portable facilities. The restroom and toilet facility maintenance log should include:
  • Date of maintenance
  • Toilet and hand washing facilities, checked and cleaned (check mark)
  • Soap checked and cleaned (check mark)
  • Single use paper towels checked and/or filled (check mark)
  • Toilet paper checked and/or filled (check mark)
  • Trash can checked and/or emptied (check mark)
  • Potable water checked and/or filled (check mark)

Wild Animal Monitoring Log

Surveying fields for animal manures should occur on a regularly scheduled basis, particularly just prior to harvest. A walk through a day prior to harvest is sufficient. The wild animal monitoring log should include:
  • Date checked
  • Time checked
  • Field ID
  • Status
  • Corrective action needed
  • Employee’s initials

Manure/Compost Use Log

If manure/compost is not used on the farm this will need to be stated in the farm food safety plan. If manure/compost is used on the farm the following should be included in the manure use log:
  •  Rate applied
  •  Date applied
  •  Location applied
  •  Source of the manure/compost
  •  Incorporation (Yes or No)
  •  Analysis report attached for each shipment (for compost)
  •  Crop planting date
  •  Crop harvest date