Farm to School — Tools for Schools

Food Safety

Food safety is an important element in farm to school programs. These resources will guide you through the important considerations when incorporating fresh, locally grown produce into a child nutrition program.

Nutrition program managers should also consult with their local health department or regulatory agency for information on local food safety requirements.

Produce Safety University Resources
A series of resources, developed by USDA and the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN), describing best practices for receiving, storing, handling and purchasing fresh and fresh-cut produce. Materials include videos, fact sheets, PowerPoint presentations and a mock recall of fresh produce activity.

Verifying On-Farm Food Safety
This guide, developed by the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) in partnership with USDA, outlines some of the safety considerations when sourcing locally grown food. This includes everything from locating a producer and planning a farm site visit to discussing purchasing procedures and delivery topics with producers.

Ensuring Traceability of Fresh Produce
Maintaining traceability of fresh produce is a key element of a strong Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan. This resource, developed by the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN), will serve as a guide to ensure the source of fresh produce can be traced in the event of a safety concern and be incorporated into local Harzard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plans. 

Quality Food for Quality Meals guide: Food safety
This section of USDA’s Fruits & Vegetables Galore: Quality Foods for Quality Meals guide covers the basics of food safety in school nutrition programs.

Food Safety in Schools
This guide, developed by the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN), provides school nutrition staff with valuable information about managing a safe and sanitary operation. The chapters cover topics including prevention of food borne illness and food safety programs in schools.

Additional resources can be found on USDA’s Farm to School Food Safety Web pages.

Assistance available in English and Spanish. Please call 877-TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325) for help.

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Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Texas Department of Agriculture
Commissioner Sid Miller