Purdue Extension and the Illiana Watermelon Association are offering audit cost-sharing programs to Indiana fruit and vegetable growers who receive passing scores on their third-party food safety audits.
Many growers statewide are looking to go through a third-party audit in order to be good agricultural practices, also known as GAPs, certified, said Scott Monroe, Purdue Extension food safety educator.
“Although third-party food safety audits are not legally required, many buyers are requiring them as a condition for purchasing a company’s products,” Monroe said.
The Purdue program will reimburse 40 percent of the cost of a third-party audit up to a maximum reimbursement of $400 per farm.
The IWA program will reimburse 75 percent of the audit cost to a maximum reimbursement of $1,500 per farmer when IWA selects services of the third-party auditor. For farmers choosing services of any other third-party auditor, the program will reimburse 60 percent of the audit cost, with a maximum reimbursement of $1,200.
Both programs will offer a food safety consultant, contracted by Purdue, to conduct a pre-audit walk-through or address specific farm and packinghouse food safety questions.
The funds for the programs come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crops Block Grant Program.
To access the applications, visit http://tinyurl.com/pgfcobn. All necessary materials must be submitted by July 1.