USDA Announces the Addition of “GroupGap” to its Audit Services

​Recently the USDA announced the addition of a new third-party auditing service that will be available through the Ag Marketing Service (AMS). The service, called “GroupGAP”, will be available in the spring of 2016. The expansion of the service follows multi-year piloting and testing of the program.

Under the GroupGAP program, independent farms may organize under a central entity, such as a food hub or grower cooperative, to create a food safety system. Participating farms are responsible for collectively developing food safety practices and collecting required documentation. Entities will also be responsible for providing their own internal auditing services. They will also participate in an external audit by USDA-AMS Specialty Crops Inspection Service.

Growers marketing through food hubs, cooperatives, produce auctions, or other collective entities may benefit from this program. The full press release and details from USDA may be found at http://blogs.usda.gov/2015/10/22/groupgap-program-brings-new-market-opportunities-for-farmers/.

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