In June, USDA began accepting applications from specialty crop producers to offset eligible costs of attaining food safety certification. The deadline to apply to the Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program (FSCSC) is January 31, 2023.
To be eligible for FSCSC, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a specialty crop operation
- Be a small business (with annual specialty crop sales of more than $250,000 but not more than $500,000) or very small business (with annual specialty crop sales of no more than $250,000)
- Have obtained or renewed a 2022 food safety certification issued between June 21 and December 31, 2022, or a 2023 food safety certification issued during the 2023 calendar year
- Be located in the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
- Have paid eligible expenses
Eligible expenses include
- development of a food safety plan for first-time food safety certification,
- maintenance or updates to an existing food safety plan,
- food safety certification,
- certification upload fees, and
- microbiological testing of products, soil amendments, and water.
Food Safety Training
Socially disadvantaged, limited resource, beginning, and military veteran farmers and ranchers are eligible for higher reimbursement rates than other applicants.
Applicants can work with personnel at their local Farm Service Agency office to apply (visit Farmers.gov for the office locator). Or, those who have an eAuthentication account can apply through the FSCSC Application Portal. Producers interested in creating an eAuthentication account should visit Farmers.gov to learn more.
More information on eligibility, eligible expenses, and reimbursement amounts may also be found at Farmers.gov.
In addition to organic certification, CCOF offers GFSI GLOBALG.A.P. and PrimusGFS food safety certifications for growers, harvest crews, coolers/distributers, packinghouses, and simple processing operations. We can often bundle these certifications with your annual organic inspection, making for one inspection event instead of two!
Contact us for a quote today at firstname.lastname@example.org.