Produce GAPs harmonization workshop announced

10/10/2013 10:43:00 AM
Tom Karst

A “train the trainer” workshop geared toward post-harvest operations harmonized standards is set for the end of October.

The two-day workshop will be held on Oct. 30-Oct. 31 at the headquarters of Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association and Florida Tomato Exchange in Maitland, Fla., according to a news release from the United Fresh Produce Association.

The workshop will feature the official training materials developed by the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Calibration Committee, designed to standardize food safety auditors’ expectations of post-harvest packing, holding and cooling operations using the Harmonized Standards, according to the release. Workshop leaders will include Calibration Committee members from Quality Certification Services, Equicert and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service Specialty Crops Inspection Division, according to the USDA.

“While the Harmonized Standards go a long way to reducing the potential for conflicting food safety expectations, it all comes down to the auditor,” David Gombas, United Fresh senior vice president of food safety and technology, said in the release. “Having a single standard doesn’t reduce audit fatigue if different auditors interpret the standards in different ways.”

Gombas said the workshop was developed to better calibrate auditors from different audit organizations in how the Harmonized Standards are supposed to be used.

“We’ll cover the details of what an auditor should expect to see at an operation, how an auditor should judge that operation based on the evidence they see, and how that judgment can change in different situations,” he said in the release.

Limited spots are available for the workshop, for a $50 fee. Registration is available online.

For more information about the event, contact Erin Grether at or (202) 303-3402. More information about the Harmonized Standards is available on the United Fresh website at, according to the release.

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