The University of Vermont Extension and the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association (VVBGA)
collaborated to develop a practical, affordable and innovative Community Accreditation for Produce Safety (CAPS) to meet the needs of Vermont’s diverse produce farms. The certification will reassure customers and retailers that the produce grown locally was handled using best practices to minimize food safety risk. The new federal law, the Food Safety Modernization Act, targets large-scale producers with food safety practices and certification programs but it leaves medium-sized and small producers without food safety credentials that would offer them credibility in the marketplace. As of April 1, the CAPS program has engaged growers with approximately 1,500 acres of total vegetable production with an estimated value of $9 million in annual sales for the state.