Sustainability, Best Practices and Food Safety

US Hop Growers strive to produce the highest quality crop for brewers around the world, with careful attention to production and harvesting details.  To provide customers with documentation of these practices, Hop Growers of America is developing the USA Hops Best Practices Program, a self-certification program that will allow growers to review their farming and harvesting practices, certifying compliance with industry standards for food safety and sustainability.  This program will be presented in five modules:  

  • Harvest Food Safety Level 1 - AVAILABLE NOW in the PDF version (see below)
  • Harvest Food Safety Level 2
  • FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) Compliance
  • Sustainable Production Practices Level 1
  • Sustainable Production Practices Level 2

We encourage all commercial hop growers, regardless of size, to participate in this voluntary program.  The new USA Hops website will be launched in late 2016, with interactive modules added to the Member Area as they are completed.  

However Food Safety is such a high priority that HGA is making the Level 1 module available here as three PDF files for use by all hop growers, regardless of membership in HGA:  
Harvest Food Safety
Supporting Documents Group 1
Supporting Documents Group 2


Stay tuned for the launch of the interactive version of this module on the new USA Hops website, hopefully in December 2016!

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Compliance Dates

Hop Growers of America is developing a separate module for the USA Hops Best Practices Program to provide members with compliance guidance.  Completion is expected by January 2017.  Compliance dates are based on annual farm-gate sales value.  Very small farns (less than $25,000 in annual sales) are not covered by the law.

Compliance dates for covered activities, except for those involving sprouts, after the effective date of the final rule are:

  • Very small businesses, those with more than $25,000 but no more than $250,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three year period: four years.
  • Small businesses, those with more than $250,000 but no more than $500,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three year period: three years.
  • All other farms: two years.
  • The compliance dates for certain aspects of the water quality standards, and related testing and recordkeeping provisions, allow an additional two years beyond each of these compliance dates for the rest of the final rule.

Compliance dates for modified requirements for farms eligible for a qualified exemption are:

  • For labeling requirement (if applicable): January 1, 2020
  • For retention of records supporting eligibility for a qualified exemption: Effective date of the final rule
  • For all other modified requirements:
    • Very small businesses, four years after the effective date of the final rule
    • Small businesses, three years after the effective date of the final rule

Compliance dates for covered activities involving sprouts after the effective date of the final rule are:

  • Very small businesses: three years
  • Small businesses: two years
  • All other farms: one year