1. Auditors will most likely look at aerial maps of the farm prior to their visit. They may ask about water sources, buildings etc. that they see on the online map that you might not have included in your production area maps. Take a look at your farm on google maps to make sure you included everything required.
2. Auditors will not tell you how to fix a problem but can prompt you to solve a problem by asking questions about what they are seeing.
3. If you contract pesticide applications out to a third party you will need to have these spray records on hand during the USDA audit. Ideally growers should have a copy of these spray records on farm, regardless of an audit.
4. Prepare all workers at the farm for the audit. Auditors will often ask workers about farm practices to verify the implementation of the food safety plan.
5. Include non-animal based soil amendments in the soil amendment section of your food safety plan. This section is not specific to just animal based amendments.
6. In section 2.8 of the Harmonized audit “Vehicles, Equipment, Tools and Utensils” auditors are looking for tractors that may come into contact with produce to be listed. Tractors appropriate for listing would be those that go into the field.
7. If you see a fixable corrective action before the auditor sees it or says something about it, fix it!
8. Plastic sleeves on tube light bulbs must cover the entire bulb, otherwise it is considered a corrective action needed.
9. Duct tape is not considered food grade. Duct tape fixing a potential product contact item would result in a corrective action needed.
10. Audits can be stressful but remember, an auditor can declare a hostile work environment and end the audit.