Food Safety on the Farm: Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices: an Overview

Workers picking and loading lettuce onto a conveyor belt UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Handling Practices (GHPs) encompass the general procedures that growers, packers and processors of fresh fruits and vegetables should follow to ensure the food safety of their product. GAPs usually deal with preharvest practices (i.e., in the field), while GHPs cover postharvest practices, including packing and shipping. We will use the term GAPs in this fact sheet to generally cover pre- and postharvest practices associated with the safe handling of produce, both fresh and minimally processed. This five-page introduction to the Food Safety on the Farm series provides an overview of GAPs and GHPs, summarizing major principles and recommendations of later documents in the series. Written by Jaysankar De, Christopher R. Pabst, Jessica Lepper, Renée Goodrich Schneider, and Keith R. Schneider and published by the UF/IFAS Food Science and Human Nutrition Department.