Small Growers to Receive GAP Certification Aid

The Oregon Blueberry Commission voted last year to reimburse smaller growers $150 when they become certified under the ODA/USDA Good Agricultural Practices act (GAP) program while the limited funds are available.

Small farms were defined as anything less than 20 acres. Growers need to show proof of passing the certification along with the receipt they had to pay for the inspection. The refund program will end December 31, 2011.

The funds will come from budget allocated to the Commission’s Food Safety Program, said Eric Pond, Oregon Blueberry Commission Secretary-Treasurer and chairman of the Food Safety Committee.

Pond, who manages blueberry production near Jefferson, said that more and more blueberry packers and retailers are requiring GAP certification.

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council has published a GAP booklet in both English and Spanish that outlines basic food safety rules. “We (OBC) have adopted it as kind of minimum guidelines, Pond said.

For English, it can be accessed at

For Spanish, go to

While the USHBC booklet gives growers a basic food safety program to follow, growers will have to comply with ODA/USDA requirements, Pond said. “They still will need to have an inspector come out and get certified.”

Your commission strongly recommends that every grower consider adopting a third-party audit certification in the interest of food safety.

ODA offers voluntary GAP certification under the USDA Federal-State Audit Program. These audits are based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines.

“There’s no regulatory (mandatory) requirements right now for on-farm food safety,” said ODA certification and development program manager Lindsay Eng.

To learn more about the program Google ODA GAP Manual and then click on the link: ODA Agricultural Development and Marketing Division.

Pond said that growers can become GAP certified through several entities in addition to ODA. “Most retailers require that you have a food safety program and are certified. There are still people who will accept your fruit without it being certified, but that number is shrinking.” Each auditing organization has its own set of guidelines that must be complied with. Eng said that USDA is working on a new GAP “harmonized standard,” which will be a blend of USDA and private standards.

The standards have as their main goal the elimination of pathogenic microbes from fresh food supplies.

As of February 14, close to 80 Oregon blueberry growers were certified by ODA/USDA, Eng said. The auditing fee is $75/hour, with a four-hour minimum.

Audits, which take place only during harvest, are arranged for by the grower. Eng recommends that growers line up an auditor one month in advance of harvest. Growers whose harvest lasts longer than 30 days may be subject to an unannounced audit, Eng said.


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Spotted Wing Drosophila Update

Market Outlook:
A Look Back …
and Ahead

Bumbles and Blueberries

Organic Blueberry Production Research Project

Critical Program Needs Industry Support

Small Growers to Receive GAP Certification Aid

Oregon Fresh Season Promotion On a Roll for 2011

Bee Fees Jump a Bit

Smooth Move Increases Insulin Sensitivity

New Trap Hits
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OSU Researcher Driving Blueberries up a Tree

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Watching World Acreage and
Production Grow

Specialty Crop Grant Supports Oregon Berry Festival;
Free Berry Vendor Space Available


Oregon Blueberry Commission • P.O. Box 3366 • Salem, Oregon 97302
Paid for by the Oregon Blueberry Commission, an agency of the State of Oregon.