Produce Safety

Food Safety of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

The University of Maryland Plant Science Department, Produce Safety Group collaborates with the Maryland Department of Agriculture Food Quality Assurance Program, UMD Agriculture Law Education Initiative, and the University of Maryland Extension to provide Maryland farmers and producers with support, education and assistance in fresh produce safety.

The past two decades have seen the implementation of both Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act), Produce Safety Rule.  Maryland farmers are aware that food safety insures both healthy consumers and a healthy market.

The above collaborators provide training sessions in basic GAP and advanced GAP to assist growers in understanding food safety risks on their farm and developing/implementing a food safety plan to minimize those risks.   The training can also assist growers in obtaining GAP certification frequently required by buyers.  See below for more information on the GAP program and if certification is right for your farm. 

The Produce Safety Rule is a federal law that requires compliance based on a farm's three-year- average annual produce sales.  The training is taught by Produce Safety Alliance certified PSR trainers under the direction of a Lead Trainer.  Participants receive certification of the training, which is one of the PSR requirements. See below for information. 

Current information on both PSR and the GAP  program can be found on the Walsh Lab Facebook page, Highway 301 Fruit and Vegetable News.

Highway 301 Fruit and Vegetable News

We are part of the Walsh Research Lab. Check out what's new here

Walsh Research Lab

2020 Good Agricultural Practices Training

February 19 

Advanced GAP 

  Frederick County 

 Register here

February 25 Basic GAP  Wicomico County Register here

February 28 

Advanced GAP 

Dorchester County 

 Register here

March 4 Advanced GAP Annapolis, MD Register here

March 17   

 Basic GAP    

Baltimore County   

 Register here


2020 PSA Produce Safety Rule Training

January 16 Hyattsville, MD Register here
January 24 Harford County Register here
February 6 Montgomery County Register here
March 5 Garrett County Register here


Who are we?

Carol Allen

    Carol Allen, MS   

Carol grew up in the farm lands of upstate New York and currently resides adjacent to the agricultural reserve in Montgomery County, MD. She holds a Masters degree in Plant Science with a concentration in plant pathology, plant virus, and integrated pest management. Specifically, Carol is happiest when she is on the hunt for pests and diseases whether it be in the apple orchard, nursery, or greenhouse. Her background gives her the advantage of talking to farmers in their language and with the understanding of their particular issues. As an educator she has the skill to introduce new concepts and procedures in an easily understood manner. Carol is a PSA certified Produce Safety Rule  trainer and is qualified to aid in On Farm Readiness Reviews. Contact Carol at

Angela Ferelli

  Angela Ferelli, Ph.D.


Angela Ferelli is an Agent Associate in Food Safety at the University of Maryland and a Produce Safety Alliance Lead trainer. She has a passion for effective science communication and translatable research that can aid growers in making on-farm risk assessments and management decisions. In addition to the Produce Safety Rule, she is also certified to assess risk for small food processors (PCQI) and in food defense (IA). Angela received her PhD from the University of Maryland, where she researched Salmonella enterica interactions with the tomato immune system and persistence in surface and reclaimed water. Contact Angela at 


The Produce Safety Specialists at the University of Maryland Plant Science Department provide assistance, education, and research to support farmers and producers reach their food safety goals. Together with our collaborators, we coordinate advanced and basic GAP trainings for DelMarVaPa farmers. We also provide assistance in food safety plan writing, GAP certification, irrigation water sampling, interpreting water sampling test results, and more! 


What can we do for you?

How Will GAP Certification Help My Farm?

Maryland’s farmers and producers have a history of appreciating the relationship between their customers and their product. In the face of nationwide food borne illness outbreaks, it becomes vital to Maryland’s farmers to insure delivering safe, fresh produce to their markets.

In 1998 the first of several steps to standardize produce growing and handling was initiated when the FDA published the “Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables,” (The FDA Guide). This publication informs the farmer about areas in production and handling that are in high risk of microbial contamination and how to minimized that exposure.

Soon after that publication was released, wholesale buyers of fresh fruits and vegetables started requiring their suppliers to undergo 3rd party audits to insure that Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) were being observed. That audit program insures that the standards outlined in the FDA Guide are being met.

GAP & GHP are voluntary programs. The Maryland Department of Agriculture, Food Quality Assurance Program has developed a state GAP/GHP certification program. This program is a good way to start developing better food safety practices on your farm if you have never had a GAP/GHP audit or inspection. The program includes development of a food safety plan, implementation of that plan, and an onsite inspection. Producers that pass receive a certificate. All levels of GAP/GHP look at various areas of practice. They include:

  1. Developing a food safety plan

  2. Water quality

  3. Manure and municipal biosolids

  4. Worker health and hygiene

  5. Sanitary facilities

  6. Field sanitation

  7. Packing facility sanitation

  8. Transportation

  9. Trace back

Information on the MDA GAP program are found here:

GAP Program Requirements

MDA GAP Program Basic requirements

Top 10 Things to Implement – GAP Checklist

GAP Resources

USDA GAP/GHP Audit Request

MDA GAP/GHP Inspection Request Form – word format

USDA GAP Participant Agreement

MDA GAP Inspection Form

How Does The FSMA, Produce Safety Rule Affect Me?

Cool videos to answer your questions

Water Testing

"Not Going Viral!" NYFC's Produce Safety Video

Cleaning and Sanitizing Introduction

Cleaning and Sanitizing Grader

Cleaning and Sanitizing Cold Storage Room

Cleaning and Sanitizing Small Wares