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Best Practices

Farm operations vary based on their equipment and other resources.  However unique, all hop growers should commit to continuous improvement of farming and harvesting practices and crop quality.  Many growers subscribe to third-party audited quality control programs such as GLOBALG.A.P. and USDA GAP.  Some customers (hop merchant companies and brewers) provide specific guidance to their growers for food safety and quality control practices.

Hop Growers of America has developed several “Best Practices” educational modules for inclusion in the Member Area that will allow growers to assess their farming operations, insuring customers receive hops that are safe and consistently high in quality. 

Food Safety practices during hop harvest are critically important for all growers, regardless of membership in HGA.  We are pleased to provide the following self assessment Food Safety/Harvest Practices program that will allow growers implement important practices, including examples for documents you will need to substantiate your practices.

FOUNDATIONS OF FOOD SAFETY MODULE (Version 3, updated October 2018)

FOOD SAFETY MODULE APPENDIX (Updated October 2018)

We encourage all growers who are selling hops commercially to utilize this program to assess and document their food safety practices.

The interactive version of Foundations of Food Safety is provided in the Member Area.  This self-assessment format will generate a Food Safety Policy and Certificate of Completion for growers who implement and complete the module.  This certificate may be provided to customers.


FSMA

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it. Several Fact Sheets and presentations on the law may be found on the US Food and Drug Administration website.

Compliance dates for covered activities, except for those involving sprouts, are:

  • Very small businesses, those with more than $25,000 but no more than $250,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three year period: January 2020.
  • Small businesses, those with more than $250,000 but no more than $500,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three year period: January 2019.
  • Farms with $500,000 or more in average annual produce sales during the previous three year period: January 2018.
  • Note: Businesses with less than $25,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three year period are not required to comply with FSMA.
  • The compliance dates for certain aspects of the water quality standards, and related testing and recordkeeping provisions, allow an additional two years beyond each of these compliance dates for the rest of the final rule

Compliance dates for modified requirements for farms eligible for a qualified exemption are:

  • For labeling requirement (if applicable): January 1, 2020
  • For retention of records supporting eligibility for a qualified exemption: Effective date of the final rule
  • For all other modified requirements:
  • Very small businesses, four  years after the effective date of the final rule
  • Small businesses, three years after the effective date of the final rule

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