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Food Safety for Growers (GAPs)

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) provide guidelines to California Almond growers on how to minimize potential food safety hazards during production and to recognize and address potential sources of contamination.

Good Agricultural Practices Quick-Start Guide

Documentation & Traceability

Maintaining readily accessible records of all almond farm operations, and especially GAPs, is essential when it comes to food safety. Specific documentation and record-keeping down to the individual orchard level will maximize the investment in risk reduction.


Employee Training

Providing effective worker training is crucial to the success of a food safety risk-reduction program. All almond orchard employees should be trained in field sanitation, employee hygiene, equipment cleaning and other procedures that contribute to high-quality, safe almonds.

Sample Form: Worker Training Documentation

Fertilizer & Soil Practices

The Almond Board of California does not support the use of uncomposted manure as fertilizer, but if used, the manure must be applied in a manner that does not introduce a food safety risk. If using manure, specific applications must be taken to ensure it’s pathogen free.

Sample Form: Soil Amendment Log
Sample Form: Compost Process Control

Water Quality & Source

Water used in the production of almonds can be a source of microbiological contaminants. Irrigation water may introduce and widely disseminate pathogens to the almond orchard floor, and water used in any foliar applications to almond trees can contaminate the crop. To protect your business, become familiar with the sources and quality of your water supply.

Sample Form: Drinking Water Checklist
Sample Form: Verification of Water Sources & Safety

Orchard Floor Management

Almond harvest results in direct contact of nuts with the orchard floor. Whenever almonds come in direct contact with soil or with soil surface materials, including crop protection chemicals, debris, and microbial contaminants. These can impact the price paid to growers and harm export market access.

Field Sanitation & Worker Hygiene

Worker hygiene plays a critical role in minimizing potential contamination. Workers need to be made aware of their role in practicing personal hygiene to prevent contamination of the orchard floor and, therefore, the almond crop

Sample Form: Field Sanitation/Hygiene Checklist
Sample Form: Field Sanitation Maintenance Log

Pests & Wildlife

Wild and domestic animals, birds, reptiles and insects can carry and deposit any number of pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli on almond trees, the orchard floor, equipment, storage areas or any other location they may access.

Sample Form: Pesticide Safety Training

Harvest & Delivery Sanitation

Elevated moisture levels can lead to the proliferation of microorganisms, including molds that produce aflatoxin in almonds. At harvest time, excessive moisture on the orchard floor and/or in windrowed almonds, could lead to the growth of microorganisms and contribute to concealed-damage formation.

Sample Form: Harvest Tool Cleaning Checklist
Sample Form: Carrier Inspection

Stockpile Management

Aflatoxins are a major concern for the almond industry because of stringent maximum limits for aflatoxin contamination in key export markets. When almonds are stockpiled, the combination of moisture in the crop and condensation that occurs under tarps used to cover the stockpiles can create ideal conditions for the Aspergillus mold to grow, which may result in aflatoxin contamination

Stockpile Management Best Practices Guide
Additional resources:
GAP Self-Audit
Complete GAPs