How to Use the Food Safety Tool


Based on harmonized GAP standards1, this tool utilizes a number of decision trees that help you assess and address areas of food safety risk that are unique to your operation. Using this tool will help you develop a food safety plan that you can print and implement on your farm. It can also help prepare you for a food safety audit should you decide to pursue GAP certification.

To view a sample food safety plan, click here.

How to Use the Food Safety Tool:

Creating a food safety plan takes time. However, you can save your work and return at a later time. Begin by collecting all of your food safety information, documentation, and any training materials that you may already have. Some examples include your food safety policy, accredited laboratory test results, and employee training logs. These will come in handy when you are asked to enter information and attach certain documents.

Once you register to use this tool, you will be guided through a series of questions where you’ll answer “Yes” or “No.” The questions are divided into the following risk areas: General Requirements, Worker Health and Hygiene, Previous Land Use and Site Selection, Agricultural Water, Agricultural Chemicals, Animal and Pest Control, Soil Amendments and Manure, Field Harvesting, Transportation (Field to Packinghouse), Packinghouse Activities, and Final Product Transport. For a list of typical audit questions pertaining to the above risk areas, please click here.

As you answer each question, scroll down the page to make sure you have not missed any additional questions or information.  Clicking the “NEXT” button will save your work and will take you to the following question. When you complete all of the questions in a risk area, click “SAVE”, and this will take you to the next risk area.

Once you have completed all of the questions in each risk area, click “SAVE” and you will be taken to the “Your Latest Manual” page.  On this page, you have the option to do the following:

  1. View Your Manual Online
  2. Save Your Manual as a PDF
  3. Return to Questioning and Edit Your Manual
  4. Review Unanswered Questions
  5. Review your Food Safety Action Checklist
  6. Delete Manual

Best Practices

Best Practices will either be automatically entered into your food safety plan, or there will be an option where you can choose whether or not you want to include a particular Best Practice in your plan.

Forms & Training Materials

Documents, records of procedures (SOPs – standard operating procedures) and policies should be included your Food Safety Plan.  Each risk area section includes Forms and Training Material templates to help you document food safety policies, training logs, and various checklists. All of these documents can be reformatted and adjusted to the needs of your operation.


The Resource section includes typical audit questions, educational materials and useful links to assist you in developing and/or improving your food safety plan.