Many in the produce industry have by now heard of the recent changes to Wal-Mart's Food Safety requirements (for those who have yet to read the official announcement: http://ncsiamericas.com/index.php?id=40).Any producer wishing to supply to Wal-Mart must meet these requirements by July 2012, giving most producers just a single harvest season to become GAP Certified.
This change in food safety requirement has been expected for sometime, although the timing may have caught many people off guard.The produce industry should be prepared for similar announcements from other major retailers (where Wal-Mart leads, others are sure to follow) in the next 12-24 months, and it appears that GAP Certification is to become another cost of doing business with a major retailer.
What is GAP?
GAP stands for Good Agricultural Practices.GAP Certification, in the context Wal-Mart refers to it as, stands for having an audit conducted against a GAP standard, such as PrimusGFS, SQF 1000, or GlobalGAP.
Each standard has a set of slightly different requirements, and you may wish to consider which standard is right for you.
We can provide information on all 3 standards, so if you're a little lost on which standard to choose we're happy to talk.
Top 3 Tips
- Don't leave it until 2012 before looking at your GAP program
- Take a training course - understand the requirements that you are being expected to comply with
- Talk to a Certification Body - book in your audit early.Auditors schedules are set up to 3 months in advance, and sometimes longer.