Full Policy Name:
Topics: Agriculture, Food Safety Regulation
Policy type: Standards
Year: 2016

The U.S. FDA’s Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables provides a set of recommendations for the produce industry in order to reduce the risk of contamination. The Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Handling Practices (GHPs) established in this guide have since then become a voluntary auditing process required by many large food buyers (e.g. restaurants, supermarkets, etc.) and institutions to help ensure food safety and farmer accountability. GroupGAP creates an alternative process for GAP certification, which can impose additional costs to individual small farmers and for cooperatives or food hubs. The GroupGAP process allows small producers and grower groups to collectively pay for certification costs, develop food safety protocols, spearhead food safety trainings, and establish quality management systems.

Relationship to food access, food insecurity, or local food economies:

GroupGAP allows small-scale farms to share the costs associated with the certification process and work with food hubs or cooperatives to expand into larger markets (Barry & Reed 2016). Due to the success of a pilot project involving ten small farms in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, all of which received GroupGAP certification in 2014, the GroupGAP program will be expanding into other areas of the state and managed under the quality management system lead by Cherry Capital Foods (ZumBrunnen et al. 2015; Barry 2016).

Scale of Governance: Federal
Summary Link: URL
Policy Text Link: URL
Michigan Good Food Charter Priority: Priority 16 - Farm-scale appropriate food safety programs

Barry, J. & Reed, K. (2016, May 24). GroupGAP Program Announced by USDA – what does this mean for Michigan? Michigan Good Food. Retrieved on October 10, 2016 from LINK.

ZumBrunnen, M., Pirog, R., Walk, M., Britton, P., Tocco, P., & Lantz, N. (2015). Small farmers can make food safety work: The GroupGAP pilot project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems.