University of Maryland Extension

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) & Good Agricultural Practices/Good Handling Practices (GAPs/GHPs)

8/11/2020 Update:

-August-MDA Agricultural Site COVID-19 Guidance

-May 2020- FDA: Temporary Policy During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Regarding the Qualified Exemption from the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption

-FDA & USDA: Food and Agriculture: Considerations for Prioritization of PPE, Cloth Face Coverings, Disinfectants, and Sanitation Supplies During the COVID-19 Pandemic

-Food Safety Fridays- A “How-to” Webinar Series: The Food Safety Network is excited to be kicking off a monthly webinar series. This webinar series is recommended for operators who have attended a Produce Safety Rule Grower Training and want more information on how to apply what they learned and what records they need to keep to be in compliance with the PSR.


Register for the webinars today at If you are unable to participate in the webinars live, all of the webinars will be recorded and available to watch on a rainy day at and

Topics & Dates 


May 22, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EDT, 

How to: Effectively and Efficiently Train Your Workers - Learn strategies of effective training for your employees and ways you can inform visitors of your food safety procedures. 

June 19, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EDT, Make Water Risk Assessment - Learn how to inspect your water distribution system and conduct a water risk assessment 

July 17, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EDT, Get A Handle On Water Quality - Learn how to properly test your water, communicate with the water testing lab, and how to interpret water test results.

August 21, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EDT, Manage Wildlife - Learn how to conduct pre-harvest assessments for wildlife and how to create appropriate buffer zones to prevent harvesting of contaminated produce.

September 18, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EDT, Develop A Sanitation Program - Learn how to create and implement cleaning and sanitizing (C/S) schedules and how to deal with tough areas such as transportation and equipment.

October 16, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EDT Apply, Handel & Store Biological Soil Amendments - Learn how to determine if your soil amendment is a treated or untreated compost, establish composting protocols, and safely apply untreated amendments

November 20, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. ET Put It All Together in A Food Safety Plan - Learn how to turn what you have gained throughout the webinar series into a customized food safety plan for your farm.


 3/18/2020 Update: Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Related to Coronavirus & COVID-19 (see pdf File attachement at the bottom of the webpage)

3/19/2020 COVID-19: Update to Food Supply Chain

As the State of Maryland continues its unprecedented response to COVID-19, the Maryland Department of Agriculture is emphasizing the need for businesses involved in the state’s food supply chain to continue production.

Reliable access to food is a human right and it is critical that our food supply chain maintain—and even be prepared to expand—operations throughout this state of emergency. Any business involved in food distribution, production, processing, sales and supply will be considered essential, including, but not limited to:

  • Agricultural equipment sales and service
  • Agricultural supply businesses
  • Animal feed supply and distribution
  • Farms
  • Farmers markets and food banks
  • Feed mills
  • Food and meat processors and manufacturers, including bakeries, etc.
  • Food safety laboratories and inspectors
  • Greenhouses and nurseries
  • Grocery delivery services
  • Pet food manufacturers and distributors
  • Retailers, including grocery stores
  • Seafood industry (crabbers, watermen, processors, etc.)
  • Transportation, distribution and suppliers
  • Veterinary services and supplies

As essential businesses, the department is asking you to remain open and operational—normally and safely—until or unless directed otherwise. Develop procedures for safe operation of your facility or farm and post those procedures for the benefit of your employees and the broader public. To clarify, the governor’s current order to suspend operations applies only to bars, dine-in restaurants and other non-essential retail locations. All other businesses, especially food-related businesses, are encouraged to continue operating within the parameters and protocols (large gatherings, social distancing, etc.) recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Maryland Department of Health.

We understand that there are a number of challenges facing businesses right now. Please keep the Maryland Department of Agriculture informed of any regulatory/statutory challenge or hurdle that may impede production, processing or sales so we can address it accordingly and promptly.

On behalf of the Hogan-Rutherford administration, we appreciate your support and patience as we continue to navigate this constantly-evolving situation with as few disruptions to food production and processing. Thank you for all that you do to ensure Marylanders continue to have access to a safe, reliable food source.

Businesses are encouraged to visit for more information. This portal is updated multiple times each day and is the best source for any questions related to business operations. Any other questions can be sent to

MDA will post any department updates on FacebookTwitter and the MDA website. If you have specific questions, please contact

2020 GAP 3/15/20 UPDATE: Event Postponed-New date tbd

Baltimore County- 3/17/20 Cockeysville, MD Register 

3/13/20 UPDATE: EMAIL Shauna Henley & Angela Ferelli for more information regarding the workshop. &


For more information about GAPs/GHPs:

Visit: Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), or contact your Local County Extension office. 

For more information about food safety of fresh fruits and vegetables:

Find information on fact sheets, videos, and farm audits visit: UMD-Plant Science & Landscape Arcitecture 

For more information about the Agriculture Law Extension Program:




 Follow MDA @MdAgDept, University of Maryland @UMD_AGNR, MD Ag Law @MDAgLaw, and the FDA @FDAfood.

Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at Univ. of Maryland

We have been working on a produce safety website on the University of Maryland's Plant Science and Landscape Architecture page. This site has Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in video format, MDA GAP resources (including a skeleton plan), fact sheets, and other information. This website also links to the MDA's food safety website, where information on additional audits can be found. Additional resources will be added to this page:



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