Technical Working Group Held Meeting At Target Headquarters On July 20
The Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Technical Working Group (TWG) convened its first meeting since 2014 at Target Headquarters in Minneapolis, M.N. on July 20, 2016 with over 40 produce industry stakeholders present.
The TWG considered a number of changes to the Harmonized Standards that have been recommended to bring them more in line with the FSMA Produce Safety rule and GFSI requirements. Dr. David Gombas and Ken Petersen, USDA AMS Audit Chief, led the discussion on the proposed changes. The TWG approved many of the recommended changes to the Pre-harvest and Post-harvest standards, which will be available soon on the Initiative’s website. The updates will be open for comment for three months and then become official if there are no further recommendations.
Also, in attendance was Dr. Jennifer McEntire, United Fresh’s new Vice President of Food Safety. She will continue as Dr. Gombas’ successor, coordinating the Harmonized Standard industry effort, as United Fresh continues to serves as the Secretariat for the Initiative.
The TWG is always open to all who wish to participate. If you would like to get involved with the working group, please contact Erin Grether at 202.303.3402. For more information about the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative, contact Dr. Jennifer McEntire at 202.303.3419.
The Produce GAP Harmonization Initiative is an all-industry effort including growers, shippers, produce buyers, government agencies, audit organizations and other stakeholders. The goal of the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative is one audit by any credible third party, acceptable to all buyers. The Initiative developed food safety Good Agricultural Practices standards and audit checklists for pre- and post-harvest operations, applicable to all fresh produce commodities, all sizes of on-farm operations and all regions in the U.S., and has made them available for use by any operation or audit organization at no cost in English and Spanish.