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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)


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.


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.

A significant action by the US Food and Drug Administration was issued in March 2019 when the agency announced it will use its discretion and not enforce Produce Safety Rule requirements as they apply to growing, harvesting, packing, and holding hops, wine grapes, pulse crops, and almonds.  Hop Growers of America, along with the WA, OR and ID Hop Commissions, have been working on this issue for the past several years.

While hops are still not on the list of “rarely consumed raw (RCR) produce”, the FDA does not intend to enforce the Produce Safety Rule for hops.  HGA will continue to work with Congress and the FDA on the permanent inclusion of hops on the list.  However, this move by the FDA is a step in the right direction and offers growers greater assurance that the Produce Safety Rule does not apply.  The Guidance document is available HERE.

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