What is Global G.A.P?
Global G.A.P. is an internationally recognized certified standard that ensures Good Agricultural Practices. Global Gap outlines international standards that act as a safeguard for food safety, workers’ health and safety, animal welfare, and environmental protection. The focus is on agricultural produce, livestock, and aquaculture. Global Gap’s objective is to promote sustainable agriculture worldwide that guarantees retailers and consumers standardized criteria on food safety. This is done by implementing HACCP, traceability, and segregation, with particular emphasis on procedures such as recall and withdrawal procedures. Moreover, Global G.A.P could be extensively beneficial to the farm’s record-keeping system and improve product quality. To get a better understanding of the concepts that govern the Global G.A.P standard, the following key terms will be briefly discussed, option 1 and 2 certification; parallel ownership and parallel production; main clauses, and major and minor must levels.
What is the difference between option 1 and option 2 certification?
There are three types of Option 1 certifications that producers may choose from. Option 1 “individual certification” caters to single producers with a single production site, which subsequently becomes a certificate holder once certificated. Option 1 with “multi-site without implementing Quality Management System (QMS)” is applicable for producers or organizations that own multiple sites and functioning as one legal entity. There is also option 1 that comprises of “multi-site with the implementation of a mandatory QMS”, where individual producers or an organization with more than one site do not function as separate legal entities.
For most producers that prefer to pool their resources together to save costs then option 2 group certification will be ideal. This is because only a square root of the total number of producers is selected for an audit. Option 2 Group certification with a compulsory shared QMS enables producers to apply as a group. With this certification, a producer receives his or her own Global Gap Number (GGN) but only one certificate for the group is granted upon passing the audit or inspection. It is also noteworthy that only 10% of the total number of group producers will be selected for a subsequent unannounced inspection.
Parallel ownership occurs when a producer purchases or outsource non-certified produce from other producers who produce the same product to supplement his production. This means that you have one product that is Global G.A.P certified while the externally purchased same product is not certified. Suppose a citrus farmer who is Global G.A.P certified buys more citrus fruits from other producers that are not Global G.A.P certified, we can then say the farmer has parallel ownership on his site. It is imperative to keep in mind that the non-certified products must not be a different product from the Global G.A.P certified product. For example, a certified producer of citrus fruit may not source out apples and retain parallel ownership. Furthermore, it is a mandatory requirement for producers to first register for parallel ownership through the Certifying Bodies (CB) who will then conduct a site inspection prioritizing traceability and segregation amongst other Control Point Compliance Criteria (CPCC).
In simple terms, parallel production is when a producer produces a segment of certified produce on one produce management unit, while also producing another segment of non-certified produce in another produce management unit. Let us take an example with a Horticulturist that cultivates Capsicum annum (bell pepper) that is Global G.A.P certified in one greenhouse, and another cultivar in another produce management unit (greenhouse) that are non-certified. It is crucial to take heed that both certified and non-certified produce must be clearly identified and segregated as required by clause AF13.2-13.4. Similar to parallel ownership, both produce under parallel ownership must be of the same product such as partly certified tomatoes and partly non-certified tomatoes.
Global G.A.P main clauses
To get a clear vision of Global G.A.P clauses it is recommended that one first understands the scopes and sub-scopes (modules) of the standard. For the purpose of this article, only Crops Base (CB) – Fruit and Vegetables (FV) Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standards will be considered. An overarching All Farm Base (AF) scope is applicable to all producers regardless if they fall under Crop Base (CB), Aquaculture (AQ), or Livestock Base (LB). Therefore, AF clauses consist of 17 main clauses and sub-clauses in the aspects of Site history and site management; Recordkeeping and self-assessment; Hygiene; Workers health, safety, and welfare; Subcontractors; Waste and pollution management; Conservation; Complaints; Recall and withdrawal procedures; Food defense; Global G.A.P status; Logo use; Traceability; Mass balance; Food safety policy; Food fraud mitigation; Specifications, Non-conforming products, and Product release.
The second scope CB deals with clauses that govern plant products pertaining to sub-clauses of Traceability; Propagation Material; Soil Management and Conservation; Fertilizer Application; Water Management; Integrated Pest Management; Plant Protection Products and Equipment.
Lastly, the FV sup-scope consists of clauses and sub-clauses in relation to Site Management; Soil Management; Substrates; Pre-harvest as well as Harvested and Post-harvest Activities.
Major and minor must levels
To determine the level of CPCC requirement, major must and minor must levels are utilized. To acquire Global G.A.P Integrated Farm Assurance certification producers are expected to attain 100% Major Must and 95% Minor Must compliance in all applicable scopes. This means that a producer seeking certification under FV would have to comply with 100% of all Major Must and 95% on all Major Must levels under AF; CB and FV altogether.
Global G.A.P standards are applicable not only to primary crop producers like fruit and vegetables, flowers and ornamentals, hops, and herbs but also applies to livestock such as cattle, pigs, poultry, and turkey as well as aquaculture. For CB products, processes in which plant products are cultivated are evaluated before they are planted in the ground such as CB2.1.1 which deals with Propagation Material and to a level where the product is traced from the field to the retail (traceability AF13.5).