Food Safety through FSMA & GAPs for Fruit and Vegetable Production

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) 

Voluntary guidance for producers to help prevent food contamination from pathogens, chemicals and physical hazards. Created through the joint efforts of US Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the US Secretary of Agriculture and in collaboration with agricultural producers. 

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

Signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011, it is the first ever mandatory federal standard for growing, harvesting, packing and holding fresh produce. FSMA created the Produce Safety Rule, which went into effect for growers on January 26, 2016. 

FSMA Produce Safety Rule - Does your farm need to comply? 

Covered Produce

Are you growing covered produce? 

  • Covered produce includes the following:
    • Almonds, apples, apricots, apriums, Artichokes-globe-type, Asian pears, avocados, babacos, bananas, Belgian endive, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, brazil nuts, broad bean, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, buurdock, cabbages, Chinese cabbages, (Bok choy, mustard and Napa), cantaloupes, carambolas, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chayote fruit, cherries (sweet), chestnuts, chicory (roots and tops), citrus (such as clementine, grapefuit, lemons, limes, mandarin, oranges, tangerines, tangors and uniq fruit), cowpea beans, cress-garden, cucumbers, curly endive, currants, dandelion leaves, fell-Florence, garlic, genip, gooseberries, grapes, green beans, guava, herbs (such as basil, chives, cilanro, oregano and parsley), honeydew, huckleberries, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kiwifruit, kohlrabi, kumquats, leek, lettuce, lychees, macadamia nuts, mangos, other melons (such as Canary, Crenshaw and Persian), mulberries, mushrooms, mustard greens, nectarines, onions, papayas, parsnips, passion fruit, peaches, pears, peas, peas-pigeon, peppers (such as bell and hot), pine nuts, pineapple, plantains, plums, plumcots, quince, readishes, raspberries, rhubarb, rutabagas, scallions, shallots, snow peas, sourop, spinach, sprouts (such as alfalfa and mung bean), strawberries, summer squash (such as patty pan, yellow and zucchini), sweetsop, Swiss chard, taro, tomatoes, tumeric, turnips (roots and tops), walnuts, waercress, watermelons and yams, and 
    • Mixes of intact fruits and vegetables (such as a fruit basket). 
  • Raw agricultural commodities. Defined as any food in its raw or natural state, including, but not limted to, all fruit that are washed, colored, or otherwise treated in their unpeeled natural form prior to marketing. 

Does not include:

  • Produce used for personal or on-farm consumption. 
  • Produce identified by the FDA as rarely consumed raw, which includes the following. 
    • Asparagus, beans (black, great Northern, kidney, lima, navy and pinto), cashews, cherries (sour), chickpeas, cocoa beans, coffee beans, collards, cranberries, dates, dill (seed and weed), eggplant, figs, garden beets (roots and tops), ginger, hazelnuts, horseradish, lentils, okra, peanuts, pecans, peppermint, potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, sugar beets, sweet corn, sweet potatoes and water chestnuts. 
    • FDA Rarely Consumed Raw Fact Sheet 
  • Food grains 
Farm Exemptions

Farms with sales of produce less than $25,00o (adjusted for inflation) during the previous 3-year period or less are not covered by the FSMA regulation.


Farms may be eligible for a qualified exemption and associated modified requirements if they meet the following two requirements.

  1. The farm has sales of all food products averaging less than $500,000 per year (adjusted for inflation) during the previous 3-year period, AND
  2. Farm sales to qualified end users exceeds sales to all others buyers comgined during the previous three years.  (A qualified end user is defined as either a) a consumer of the food in any location or b) a restaurant or retail food establishment locted in the same state, same Indian reservation as the farm, or not more than 275 miles away. Restaurants and retail establishments located in another state or country may be qualified end users if they are within 275 miles of the farm. 

examples of GAPs and FSMA

More information on FSMA and Produce Safety Alliance Grower Trainings.

Contact the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

You may contact FDA about FSMA by submitting an inquiry form.

This modified form is designed to facilitate questions that are specific to FSMA and its implementation. Your use of the form will provide the FSMA Technical Assistance Network with the information needed to give accurate and timely responses and to improve our customer service. We hope you find our online form useful in identifying the specific nature of your inquiry and we remain open to suggestions about improving the form to meet your needs.

You may also mail your question to the address below:

Food and Drug Administration
5100 Paint Branch Pkwy
Wiley Building, HFS-009
Attn: FSMA Outreach
College Park, MD 20740

Related Articles

Dry bean field in Nebraska Panhandle
Dry edible bean field in western Nebraska. (Photo by Gary Stone)

USDA Announces Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Funding Awarded to Nebraska

September 1, 2023
Some of the projects to be funded by the grant feature research on mitigating adverse effects of diseases in dry beans, evaluating the effectiveness of tomato varieties, and the development of new irrigation technology.

Read more

Bee on flower
FieldWatch covers all registered commercial apiary sites, vineyards, orchards, fruit and vegetable grow sites, nursery and Christmas tree production sites, and certified organic and transitional organic crops. To add your site onto FieldWatch, visit the link below.

Online Mapping Service Connects Specialty Crop Growers, Pesticide Applicators and Beekeepers to Protect Sensitive Crops, Pollinators

March 31, 2023
As the growing season quickly approaches, producers are reminded to use FieldWatch and DriftWatch to protect specialty crop acreage and apiaries, which number in the thousands across Nebraska.

Read more

Dry bean field
Dry edible bean field in western Nebraska. (Photo by Gary Stone)

Proposals for 2023 Specialty Crop Projects Due Jan. 31

January 13, 2023
Producers, organizations, educational groups and other specialty crops stakeholders are encouraged to apply with proposals for innovative research, development and marketing projects.

Read more

Bee on flower

NDA Encourages Pesticide Applicators, Specialty Crop Growers and Beekeepers to Work Together to Protect Crops

April 19, 2022
The NDA encourages growers, beekeepers and pesticide applicators to make use of online mapping services such as DriftWatch to protect sensitive crops and pollinators from pesticides.

Read more


Proposals for 2022 Specialty Crop Projects Due Jan. 31

January 19, 2022
Applications are now available online for any producer, educator or organization interested in applying for this grant, which supports funding for new specialty crop projects.

Read more