Safe Food Risk Assessment Program
The Safe Food Risk Assessment Program was created to “ensure food safety of the emerging small farm/locally grown food community” (MDARD n.d.). The program is mainly an educational initiative that provides small farm, scale-appropriate evaluation of on-farm practices and food safety technical assistance. The program also recognizes growers who follow safe food practices by providing a certificate of completion once they implement plans to mitigate potential food safety risks identified on their farm.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that less than 5% of the nearly 6,500 Michigan fruit and vegetable growers who sell direct-to-consumers participated in a formal GAP audit in 2010 (MDARD n.d.). While the Safe Food Risk Assessment Program does not replace GAP compliance with USDA food safety standards, it does provide small-scale fruit and vegetable producers with educational and technical assistance to begin implementing food safety management practices. By preparing producers to be able to execute similar practices required by the more rigorous GAP certification, this program helps support goals that seek to connect local farmers with markets in neighborhoods with reduced food access.
Priority 16 – Farm-scale appropriate food safety programs
MDARD (Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development). (n.d.). Michigan’s Safe Food Risk Assessment Program. Retrieved on October 15, 2014 from LINK.