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Food Safety

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Food Safety Practices

Whether you are producing food or preparing it, keeping food safe is a critical part of healthy eating.

Become familiar with best practices for produce safety, including receiving, storing, handling and processing. This will help to ensure you stay protected and maximize taste and enjoyment of food!

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How We Help

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services generally regulates whole-sale food operations, food processing operations and food storage/warehouse operations.

Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) works with food service establishments to help ensure their products are not a source of foodborne illness. DOH’s Food Hygiene Inspection Program is risk-based. So, facilities that pose a greater risk to the public becoming sick from consuming their product are inspected more often than those that pose a lesser risk.

For Schools
Additional Resources

Food safety is an integral part of successful Child Nutrition Programs. Be sure to check out these resources developed by the Institute of Child Nutrition, USDA, and other organizations to aid in ensuring food safety in your program. 

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Food Handling Training: Food Safety in Schools

Designed to provide school nutrition employees with up-to-date information on food safety, this training provided by the Institute of Child Nutrition contains lessons and activities for participants to learn about food safety concepts needed to prepare and serve food safely. It also provides guidance on keeping school nutrition facilities safe and sanitary.

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Food Handling Training: Annual Training Requirements

As Florida Department of Health-regulated food service operations, schools must provide annual training for employees. It is the responsibility of the certified manager, or person in charge, to train or ensure the training of all employees under their supervision and control who engages in the storage, preparation and serving of food, and cleaning of equipment, utensils and food contact and non-food contact surfaces, in accordance with acceptable sanitary practices.

Read DOH's Employee Training Guidance
Codes & Statutes
Do You Know Your Local Food Safety Contacts?

Make sure you know your Health Department’s Food Safety and Sanitation representative to stay up to date on food safety requirements and best practices.

You can also contact FDACS Food Safety team at [email protected].

Find your representative
For Producers
Online Training: Produce Safety Alliance Course

This course serves fruit, vegetable and other growers interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, GAPs and co-management of natural resources and food safety.

The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) that requires: “At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.”

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Online Training: Implementing Good Agricultural Practices Course

This three-week web-based course is intended to improve your understanding of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). The course guides assessment of risks and implementation of practices to reduce risks on fresh produce farms. Please keep in mind, taking this course will not result in your farm being “GAP Certified.” GAP certification is done by a third party (e.g., USDA, Primus, Global GAP) and involves the successful completion of an on-farm audit.


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Codes and Regulations for Produce Safety

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) aims to ensure the US food supply is safe by shifting from responding to contamination to preventing it. Preventing contamination is achieved by shifting focus to preventative controls, inspection, compliance, imported food safety, recall response and enhancing partnerships.

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Farm to Institution Food Safety Basics Video Library

Institutional buyers have a variety of options to verify their produce suppliers’ food safety practices. There is no right answer nor one-size-fits-all approach to verifying produce safety practices because some programs may be a better fit than others for an institution. Therefore, it is important for institutions to be aware of the full slate of options available. 

These materials were developed by MSU Extension with funding from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Food Safety Education Fund grant program.

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USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) 

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audits are voluntary audits verifying that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled and stored to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards. GAP audits verify adherence to the recommendations made in the US Food and Drug Administration’s Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables and industry recognized food safety practices.

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