The Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Technical Working Group (TWG) has approved changes to the Field Operations and Harvesting Harmonized Food Safety Standards. The new version of the Harmonized Standards will become obligatory on November 1, 2013. The new version is now posted on the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative webpage.

David Gombas, Sr. Vice President, Food Safety and Technology for United Fresh said, "Six changes were approved back in July of 2012, at the last TWG meeting. They were posted on the GAP Harmonization webpage and we received no comments or concerns. The Calibration Committee, which includes 10 of the audit organizations using the Harmonized Standards, revised the training materials for auditors in May, but asked that we allow the previous version to be used during this summer's growing and harvest season. So, while the standards have now been officially changed, operations can still use the 2011 version through October."

The goal of the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative is one audit by any credible third party, acceptable to all buyers. To achieve this goal, 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.

For more information on the Harmonized Standards please visit or contact Erin Grether, United Fresh's Government Affairs & Science Policy Coordinator at 202-303-3400 or