Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative auditor workshop announced

October 7, 2013

The Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative continues to move towards streamlined audits and reduced costs with a Harmonized Standards Train-the-Trainer workshop, focused on the use and interpretation of the Post-Harvest Operations Harmonized Standards. The course is open to auditors and all interested parties.

The two-day workshop will be held on Oct. 30 and 31 at the headquarters of Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association and Florida Tomato Exchange in Maitland, Fla. The workshop will feature the official training materials developed by the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Calibration Committee, designed to standardize food safety auditors’ expectations of post-harvest packing, holding and cooling operations using the Harmonized Standards. Workshop leaders will include Calibration Committee members from Quality Certification Services, Equicert and USDA AMS Specialty Crops Inspection Division.

“While the Harmonized Standards go a long way to reducing the potential for conflicting food safety expectations, it all comes down to the auditor,” said Dr. David Gombas, United Fresh Produce Association senior vice president of food safety and technology. “Having a single standard doesn’t reduce audit fatigue if different auditors interpret the standards in different ways. This workshop was developed to better calibrate auditors from different audit organizations in how the Harmonized Standards are supposed to be used. We’ll cover the details of what an auditor should expect to see at an operation, how an auditor should judge that operation based on the evidence they see, and how that judgment can change in different situations.”

This is the only workshop planned for 2013, and there are limited spots available. There is a nominal fee of $50 to attend. To register for the workshop online, click here.

For more information please contact Erin Grether at [email protected] or call 202-303-3402.