As school nutrition directors and staff know, food safety is paramount. Local food can be as safe or safer than food that travels hundreds
of miles from farm to plate. These resources cover safety requirements and concerns:
Food Safety on the Farm
- USDA’s Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Program: GAP offers voluntary audits of produce suppliers to show their commitment to clean soil, water, hands, and surfaces. Some school districts may require GAP certification from local farmers. More information on safety practices, audits, and certification here.
- On-Farm Food Safety Project: This website has an example of a food safety plan and a step-by-step introduction to creating your own.
- Tips, Tools, and Guidelines for Food Distribution and Food Safety: This resource from Oklahoma Farm to School includes helpful information on developing a food safety plan and handling tips.
- Verifying On-Farm Food Safety: This resource helps school nutrition staff identify and discuss food safety practices on a farm.
Food Safety in the School Cafeteria
- Farm to School Food Safety FAQs: From USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, this resource answers common questions about handling fresh produce and working with local farms.
- Checklist for Purchasing Local Produce: This quick checklist includes an excellent list of safety concerns to pay attention to, questions to ask of your local producers, and safety requirements to follow. For more questions to ask local producers, see this On-Farm Food Safety Interview Tool.
- Best Practices for Handling Fresh Produce in Schools: This great resource covers what to do with fresh produce once it arrives at school. It includes information on washing, preparing, serving, and storing.
- Produce Safety University: This training course from USDA helps school nutrition staff identify and manage food safety risks associated with fresh produce.
- More Produce Safety Resources: These resources from USDA and the National Food Service Management Institute includes produce safety fact sheets, videos, and presentations.