Retail Press Release
California Avocado Commission Promotes GAP Certification
- Marji Morrow, Rockwell Morrow
- (323) 456-6751
Jan 16 2013
IRVINE, Calif. (January 16, 2013) – Demonstrating that food safety is a high priority for the industry, more than 300 California avocado growers engaged in a series of interactive Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) grower education seminars conducted by the California Avocado Commission (CAC) in December. CAC introduced a new GAP manual and recommended GAP certification process in 2011, and in just one year after the program launch more than 20 percent of California avocado acreage has been GAP certified.
The December grower seminars, which were held in California avocado growing regions in Fallbrook, San Luis Obispo and Santa Paula, were the second series conducted by CAC; the first series took place in February 2012. In both sets of workshops CAC’s Director of Issues Management, Ken Melban, gave step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for a GAP certification audit. Attendees were very engaged, and avocado growers who have already been through the certification audit provided helpful personal insights.
Ken Melban, California Avocado Commission Director, Issues Management
“I strongly believe the adage that the best way to deal with a food safety crisis is to simply not have one,” said CAC’s Ken Melban. “Avocados are a low-risk crop, but since there’s no such thing as ‘no risk’, CAC is committed to implementing this voluntary GAP certification program as broadly as possible.”
To assist California avocado growers in obtaining GAP certification, CAC has provided them with a GAP manual and tools in both English and Spanish, and provided a Spanish interpreter for all of the grower education seminars. CAC’s GAP manual tools include a simple “Quick Start” self-assessment guide that growers can use to quickly understand what they need to do to get ready for an audit. The GAP manual itself includes best practice information regarding agricultural water use, worker hygiene and field sanitation, soil amendments and pesticides, along with information about fruit identity and traceability. A Good Harvesting Practices (GHP) section also is part of CAC’s GAP manual. Pre-audit grower checklists, forms and logs complete the manual, providing all the tools necessary for California avocado growers to prepare for GAP certification.
CAC’s Ken Melban led a second series of grower GAP certification education sessions in December
To encourage California avocado growers to become GAP-certified, the Commission board of directors authorized a rebate incentive of up to $300 per audit toward actual grower audit costs. The rebate was offered in 2012 and extended in 2013 on a first-come, first-served basis while funds are available.
“California avocado growers are already implementing many of the practices to qualify for GAP certification. CAC’s GAP program, including the rebate, provides a great incentive to growers to get on board with processes for improved documentation,” said Melban.
Participants in the seminars confirmed a widespread support for the importance of food safety. Both during and after the workshops many growers expressed their appreciation for the education sessions and GAP explanations, finding it helpful to understand that GAP certification mostly requires documentation of processes and practices they already employ.
About the California Avocado Commission
Created in 1978, the California Avocado Commission strives to increase demand for California avocados through advertising, promotion and public relations, and engages in related industry activities that benefit the state’s nearly 5,000 avocado growers. The California Avocado Commission serves as the official information source for California avocados and the California avocado industry. For information about California avocados, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com, become a fan at Facebook.com/CaliforniaAvocados and follow the California Avocado Commission on Twitter at Twitter.com/CA_Avocados.