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GAP Certification

The NH Department of Agriculture, Division of Regulatory Services offers GAP/GHP certification under the USDA Federal-State Audit Program. GAP refers to "Good Agricultural Practices," and GHP refers to "Good Handling Practices."

This nationally recognized cooperative partnership performs audits based on the Food and Drug Administration's Guidelines to Minimize Microbial Contamination for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. GAP & GHP audits are performed on a voluntary basis at the request of NH farmers and packing operations.

What is GAP & GHP?

The purpose of the GAP/GHP program is to provide consumers with confidence that they are purchasing fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts that have been handled in a manner to reduce the risk of microbial contamination. The auditors verify compliance with the scopes requested by the application, of the USDA Federal/State Audit Checklist.

The GAP certification process consists of three (3) main sections for farm operations:

  1. General Questions
  2. Farm Review
  3. Field Harvest and Field Packing

The GHP certification process is for operations that conduct packing activities of fresh fruits and vegetables. This also consists of three (3) sections:

  1. General Questions
  2. House Packing Facility
  3. Storage and Transportation

Every operation must compile a farm safety program, which outlines the standard operating procedures and policies that are in practice for the requirements of each section. In certain circumstances, documentation must also be provided to substantiate evidence of compliance with the requirements in the checklist. Additionally, trace back and mock recall requirements have been included in the General questions, and all other sections where applicable and a traceability program must be in place and documented before on-site inspection occurs.

GAP Requirements

For more information on the GAP/GHP Certification requirements, visit the USDA GAP website.

Requesting a GAP Audit

To request a GAP/GHP audit, a completed Audit Request Form and an Audit Agreement are required.

These forms are available on the USDA website. When you open the USDA Available Services page, scroll down until you see the heading, “Directories”. Click on the second option for GAP/GHP Certified Businesses. Then, on the GAP page, scroll until you see “How to Request a GAP & GHP Audit”. The second bullet is for the request form and the last bullet is for the agreement. The completed forms may be emailed to Jennifer Gornnert at, faxed to (603) 271-1109, or mailed to:

NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food
Division of Regulatory Services
PO Box 2042
Concord, NH 03302

In addition to the 2 forms, a copy of your Food Safety Plan must be submitted at least 45 days prior to the scheduled audit visit.

Applicants are charged for their audits after a field visit has been made at a rate of $108/hr (as set by USDA) plus an additional $50 USDA administrative fee.

For those interested in requesting a Harmonized GAP audit, please contact the USDA Audit Services Branch directly at:

Telephone: (202) 720-5021
Fax:(866) 230-9168

Further Reading

NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food
Mailing: PO Box 2042, Concord NH 03302 -2042
Physical: 25 Capitol Street, Second Floor, Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-3551 | fax: (603) 271-1109