Online GAP videos available

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach On-Farm Food Safety Team has released three videos to educate Iowa fruit and vegetable growers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs).

These online videos replace the day-long Iowa Level 1 GAP trainings, and are good introductory courses for new farm employees. In-person workshops for groups are still available upon request.

Iowa GAP Level 1 Introduction, 25 minutes
Iowa GAP Level 1 Pre-Harvest, 39 minutes
Iowa GAP Level 1 Post-Harvest, 49 minutes

Am I Certified?

Question: If I attend an Iowa Level 1 or Level 2 GAP class, is my farm GAP certified?

No. While attending a class is a great way to learn about food safety, it does not make your farm certified. Three things need to happen in order for a farm to become “GAP-certified.”

  1. The farms need to implement an on-farm food safety program with a manual containing policies, procedures (SOPs) and logs.
  2. The farmer needs to contact a certifying auditing agency like USDA AMS, Primus, NSF or other certifying body to come to the farm and audit the farm’s food safety program. Because Iowa does not have a state GAP inspection program, auditors usually come from out-of-state and audits will cost $600-$2000 depending on the audit used.
  3. They need to pass the audit (for example, a score 80% or higher on a USDA GAP audit).

While it is highly recommended that farmers attend a Level 1 and Level 2 GAP class to learn about food safety principles and to receive assistance crafting a farm safety manual, attending class is not a requirement to become GAP certified. In fact, there are several templates available that can guide farmers through the process.

ISU Extension specialists are also available to assist with questions and to perform mock audits.

See also:

Will I be GAP certified if I come to your class?

Spring Workshops

The Iowa State University On Farm Food Safety Team will be hosting workshops this Spring 2015 from 9am to 4:00pm.  Materials, Breaks, and Lunch is provided.
Date        Level             Location
2/12/15         1                 ISU Armstrong Research Farm/Wallace Foundation ( Lewis, IA )
2/20/15         2                ISU Armstrong Research Farm/Wallace Foundation
2/17/15         1                Iowa Lakes Community College- Spencer Campus (Spencer, IA)
2/24/15         2                Iowa Lakes Community College- Spencer Campus
3/2/15         1                Linn County Extension (Cedar Rapids, IA)
3/24/15         2                Linn County Extension

a.    First person for Level 1 is $25, each additional person is $10.  For example: 2 people from 1 farm come then it is $35
b.    First person for both Level 1 and 2 is $40, each additional person is $20.  For example: 2 people from1 farm come to both sessions then it is $60

Registration Ends 10 days prior to session
All Payments due at the time of workshop!

Register Today at


Iowa food safety program builds on Leopold work

Many consumers consider locally grown food to be fresh, healthy and – possibly even more important to the farmers who grow it – safe.

Farmers with all sizes of fruit and vegetable operations are learning more about on-farm food safety practices and the documentation to ensure that what they bring to farmers markets and CSAs is as safe as possible. Thanks to a Leopold Center-funded project that began three years ago, farmers have a variety of options for safety training.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering a sequential series of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) workshops throughout the state during the 2013 growing season. Level 1 workshops provide an overview of GAPs fundamentals and optional web-based modules about basic food regulations and food microbiology. Participants in Level 2 workshops develop their own On-Farm Food Safety Plan to demonstrate how they use and document GAPs in their operation. Level 3 workshops prepare producers for audits to become GAPs-certified, a level of food safety assurance required by some retailers and for large-scale food distribution.

“Producers are very open to the training,” said Angela Shaw, extension food safety specialist. “The top needs we’re seeing are for producer documentation and traceability, knowing where an item is going or where it came from if there happens to be a foodborne illness.”

Shaw said that new federal standards – expected soon as part of the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act – will change how various types of produce such as melons, berries, apples and tomatoes are handled before they reach the consumer. Although the regulations will not directly affect small growers, the regulations require a plan to prevent and/or eliminate foodborne bacteria from entering the food supply. If a foodborne outbreak occurs with a particular produce item, the entire industry will feel the negative effects, which is why these educational workshops and implementation of GAPs are so important, she added.

The Leopold Center project included development of educational materials presented to 147 producers who attended eight workshops throughout the state in 2010 and 2011. Shaw said that what educators learned has helped the team create the current workshop series.

A handful of Iowa farmers have completed all levels of training, which prepares them to become GAP-certified. Various cost-share programs are available to some growers and areas to help pay for a third-party audit.

The On-Farm Food Safety team built on the Leopold project to obtain a USDA Block Specialty grant to begin workshops in October 2012. Details are on the Iowa GAP Center blog,

Source: Leopold Letter Winter 2012

Food Safety Luncheon: School and Community Gardens in Independence, IA

Food Safety Concerns with School and Community Gardens

Topics Include:

* Garden Management


* Pre/Post Harvest Handling

*1 Hour Q & A Session

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Noon– 3 pm

Independence, IA (specific location TBA)

Register at

-Send your specific questions in through registration

by December 7th, 2012

Free for State and County Extension Personnel

$10 for other individuals (cover meal and handouts)

Hosted by Dr. Angela Shaw

Iowa State University, Food Safety Extension and Outreach Specialist

Sponsored by heddleson grant within  College of Human Sciences at Iowa state University

New Statewide Food Safety Good Agricultural Practices Workshop Series

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering a new program series for those wishing to expand their farm markets or those interested in growing food products for direct or wholesale sales.  On farm Food Safety training for every size fruit and vegetable producer.

The program consists of three sequential workshops. A certificate of completion will be awarded at the end of each workshop.

Level 1 farmers who provide food direct to consumers through community–supported agriculture (CSA) or farmers’ markets or considering retail foodservice sales will be trained in good agriculture best practices and market considerations. Two on line components will be available. Workshop is 6 hours includes educational packet of materials and working lunch. KNOW

Level 2 farmers are those considering sales to retail foodservices, such as grocers, restaurants, hospitals, and other institutions, and those interested in adding value to fresh produce and selling products in a convenience form.  Those completing this workshop will have the “bones” of their farm’s written food safety plan in place to demonstrate GAPs are in place and provide food safety assurances to buyers. Workshop is 6 hour workshop includes educational packet and working lunch. SHOW

Level 3 trained farmers will be GAP–audit ready and fully equipped to service large scale food distribution.  A mock GAPs audit will be conducted. Workshop is a full day and includes an on farm mock inspection and technical assistance related to market plans. READY

Level 1 Workshop Level 2 Workshop Level 3 Workshop
  • On–farm food safety fundamentals, including Good Agriculture Practices (GAP)
  • Basic food regulations (on–line)
  • Basic food microbiology (on–line component)
Working session to develop On–Farm Food Safety Plan with technical coaches and inclusion of marketing plan basics
  • Mock GAPs Audit
  • Market readiness workshop
Outcomes Outcomes Outcomes
Attendance of Basic GAP Workshop Completed written On-Farm Food Safety Plan Readiness for third–party GAPs audit

Funded by USDA Agricultural Marketing Services Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Upcoming GAP/ On Farm Food Safety Plan Workshops

Upcoming Food Safety Workshops:
October 27th 9-3pm: Level 1-Good Agricultural Practices, Mason City ( )
November 3rd 9am-4pm: Level 2-On Farm Food Safety Plan Workshop, Mason City ( )
November 8th Noon-2pm: Food Safety Seminar Luncheon, Montgomery County Extension Office (HTTP://BIT.LY/FSREDOAK)
December 4th 10-4pm: Level 1- Good Agricultural Workshop, Iowa Western Community College (
February 26th: 9-4pm: Level 2- On Farm Food Safety Plan Workshop, Iowa Western Community College (
For More Information Contact: Dr. Angela Shaw, or 515-294-0868

GAP Self-Audit Certificate Program Set for Dec 4

December 4, 2012, 10AM-4PM, Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs

This 6 hour training course will help establish good on-farm food-safety protocols and give you the skills needed to execute a GAP self-audit of your farm. This is an introductory level course that is a pre-requisite for taking more advanced GAP training. This class does not provide you with GAP certification. You will get a certificate from Iowa State University that you have been trained in self-auditing your operation for GAP standards. A great opportunity to explore food safety protocols prior to attempting GAP certification. Lunch Included.

Cost: $45 per farm (includes one lunch) – $15 each additional material packet – $10 each additional lunch

To register:
For more information call 712-482-6726 ask for the local food information for questions about registration contact Matt Mancuso, Sustainability Coordinator, at 712-325-3448 or by email at

Workshop: Food Safety and Defense for Direct Sales

A professional development opportunity is available to Inspectors, Food Entrepreneurs, Extension Educators, Food Producers, Local/Regional food system group members and other interested parties at three locations throughout the state the week of July 30 in Altoona, Waterloo, and Council Bluffs.

There is no fee for the workshop and a working lunch is included. Speakers include Angela Shaw, Catherine Strohbehn, and Ray Hansen from ISU Extension and Outreach and James Romer from Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.

Registration will be capped at each site due to seating availability. The workshop includes a working lunch. Register at

View the workshop flyer: Food Safety and Defense for Direct Sales

On-Farm Food Safety Plan Workshop

On-Farm Risk Based Food Safety Plan Workshop: Equip Your Farm for Food Safety

    • New Food Safety Regulation
    • Reduce Risk of Foodborne Outbreak Associated with Your Farm
    • Marketing to grocers, restaurant, intermediate and large scale food companies
      • Brief introduction of Food Safety Plan
      • Identify Hazards within a Pre-Hazard Assessment Plan
      • Build an On-Farm Food Safety Plan Manual
      • Question and Answer Session
        • Growers of fruits and vegetables
        • Food Cooperator Mangers and Participants
        • Farmers Market Managers
          • Handout of the University of Minnesota’s Food Safety Plan 4 You
          • Resource Guide Document
            • Completion of the USDA Good Agricultural Practices Good Handling Practices: Audit Verification Checklist (
            • Locations and Dates
              • May 14th 8am-5pm Country Inn & Suites (2605 SE 16th Street, Ames, IA)
              • May 21st 8am-5pm Country Inn & Suites (9100 Atlantic Drive Southwest, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404)
              • ***If a group of 15 or more farms would like to a separate session please contact me

Note to Participants

Participants CAN

  1. Bring their own laptop to complete the Food Safety Plan OR
  2. Complete Food Safety Plan by hand if not comfortable with computer

Workshop Agenda

  • 8:15am- Check In (Breakfast Provided)
  • 8:30am-Morning Session Begins
  • Noon-Lunch Provided
  • 12:45pm-Afternoon Session Begins
  • 4:30pm-Wrap Session with Questions
  • 5:00pm-Adjourn

For more information please contact Dr. Angela Shaw at 515-294-0868

On-Farm Risk Based Food Safety Plan Workshop: Equip Your Farm for Food Safety

Registration Form

Farm name:____________________________________________________






Additional Attendees (name):_____________________________________


Session Options (Check 1) (First Come First Serve Basis) (Limit 25 Farms per session)

Country Inn & Suites-Ames, IA  May 14th,8am-5pm  ______________

Country Inn & Suites-Cedar Rapids, IA May 21st, 8am-5pm  __________________

***If a group of 15 or more farms would like to a separate session please contact me


1st Farm Attendee                         @40.00           $_________

-Cost includes Breakfast, Lunch, 2 Snack Breaks, Handouts, Memory Stick

Additional Attendees_____@20.00 each $_________

-Cost includes all meals

Total Enclosed                                          $_________

Checks payable to: Iowa State University

Return Form and Payment to: Iowa State University, Dr. Angela Shaw, 2577 Food Science Building, Ames, IA 50011

I will bring my own computer?____ Or will complete by hand?________

Special Dietary or Facility Needs (Please explain)______________________

On-Farm Food Safety Plan Workshop May 2012USDA GAP audit verification checklist


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