logo title /images/rImage/ritacrane4.jpg
logo bottom



MCAS Best Management Practices

The official Mendocino County website has a new home! Please visit:

The content here is no longer updated and will soon redirect to the new site.
MCAS HomeMCAS Frequent QuestionsMCAS Best Management PracticesActive Approved Sources

Review requirements and practices to register.

Program Requirements

  1. Eligible produce is limited to the whole edible portion of a plant in its raw and natural state of fruits, nuts, vegetables, sprouts and herbs.
  2. Producer must follow the Best Management Practices enumerated below that are applicable to their operation.
  3. Producer shall retain records sufficient to demonstrate compliance with applicable Best Management Practices. These records may include, but are not limited to, identifying manure and compost application dates, harvesting dates, water tests, and any other information necessary to demonstrate compliance. Producers shall retain records for previous calendar year plus current year.
  4. Producer shall renew the Approved Source Certificate annually.

Best Management Practices


  1. Water testing is required for water used in two circumstances: irrigation water that will come in contact with the edible portion of the plant within 7 days prior to harvest and water that will be used as final wash water.
    1. For irrigation water that will come into contact with the edible portion of the plant within 7 days prior to harvest, the water shall meet the California leafy green handler agreement standard of E. coli levels of <126 colony forming units/100ml.
    2. For final wash water, water shall meet the California Drinking Water Standard of E. coli levels of <1.1 colony forming units/100ml for microbial contamination.
    3. Testing frequency:
      1. If the source of water is a well or contained spring, water shall be tested annually.
      2. If the source is surface water, including but not limited to, irrigation canals, creeks, rivers, ponds, or rainwater catchment systems, water shall be tested quarterly during the Producer’s growing season.
    4. Producer shall retest if contamination is suspected.
    5. Treated water obtained from a municipal source shall not require testing.
  2. Producer may conduct a Presence/Absence test to satisfy these requirements. If such a test indicates presence of E. coli, Producer shall retest to determine the level of E. coli.
  3. Producer shall ensure that livestock are excluded from all ponds, wells, and other water sources under their control.
  4. Gray water use is restricted to application on fruit and nut tree crops. Gray water shall be applied in compliance with State requirements for the use of gray water, including subsurface burying of gray water discharge at least 2 inches below the surface of the soil.
  5. Producer shall identify the effect of rainfall and resultant drainage pathways and minimize runoff that may contaminate the growing site.


  1. Compost will be handled in a manner to reduce pathogenic microbial activity.
    1. For “hot compost”, defined as compost containing animal manure and/or post consumer food waste, Producer shall utilize aerobic composting techniques to achieve a minimum temperature of 131F for at least five days, and will be turned at least 3 times during that period to ensure even break down.
    2. Human, dog, and cat manure may not be utilized.
    3. Post consumer waste is defined as food waste that has come in contact with consumers. Excluded from this definition are green compost materials such as spent coffee grounds, spent brewery waste, and vegetable kitchen scraps that have not been served to consumers.
    4. Producer will keep records of composting time, temperature, and turns as applicable.
    5. For “green compost”, defined as compost composed entirely of vegetative matter, no minimum temperature or time requirements apply.
    6. For “aged manure”, raw manure shall age at least 6 months. No minimum temperature or turning requirements are mandated for aged manure. Human, dog, and cat manure may not be utilized.
  2. If pig manure is utilized in hot compost, aged manure, or in field rotations, Producers must receive prior approval of Environmental Health Director, or his designee.
  3. Raw manure shall be incorporated into the soil at least 120 days prior to harvest.
  4. If animals are used in field rotation they must be moved out of the growing area at least 120 days prior to harvest.
  5. If the edible portion of the crop will come in contact with the soil, that crop shall not be planted over a septic system leach field.
  6. “Hot compost” and “Aged Manure,” used as a side/top dressing or mulch, shall not be applied within 21 days prior to harvest. “Green compost” may be applied at any time.
  7. Commercial compost from a licensed composting facility may be used in the same manner as “green compost.”
  8. Compost tea, defined as a mixture of “hot compost” and/or “aged manure” plus water, may not be applied within 7 days of harvest. If the tea is going to contact the edible portion of the plant it may not be applied within 45 days of harvest. Other foliar applications, including “green compost” plus water, may be utilized at any time.
  9. Worm castings shall be considered raw manure unless they come from a commercial composting facility.


  1. Producer and all farm workers shall be made aware of and practice safe food handling techniques, including but not limited to, proper hand washing, washing hands between activities, changing gloves (if gloves are used) when working with produce, potential sources of contamination, etc.
  2. Producer shall provide sanitary hand washing and toilet facilities within 1/4 mile of work location.
  3. Producer shall take measures to protect produce, harvest equipment, and containers from disease vectors such as, but not limited to, rodents, birds, and insects. Harvest tools and equipment shall be clean.
  4. Producer shall remove as much dirt as practical from produce before moving it to packing areas. Producer shall remove harvested produce from the field, as appropriate, in a timely manner to protect it from sources of contamination.
  5. Producer shall ensure that workers exhibiting signs of diarrhea, vomiting, fever, sudden yellowing of the skin, or infected wounds will be excluded from harvesting, washing, and handling produce.
  6. Producer shall ensure that all persons handling the produce shall have any open wound(s) covered appropriately.


  1. Invoices shall identify the farm name, city, state, ZIP code, phone number, and approved source number of the farm.
  2. Packing boxes or other transport containers shall be clearly marked with the farm name, city, state, and ZIP code of the farm. Markings should be placed on the end(s) of containers to aid in identifying stacked boxes.
  3. Producer may utilize pre-used packing boxes if all identifying information from the previous farm is obscured.


  1. Producer shall use clean transport containers, and shall clean containers before each use, repairing or discarding damaged ones. The use of a new sanitary liner, although not required, is highly recommended to help assure over-all food safety.
  2. Producer shall minimize opportunities for contamination and microbial growth during shipping.


  1. Producer shall minimize the presence of vector attractants such as rotting and nesting materials in the growing area that is immediately adjacent to the crop during the production season.
  2. Producer shall take reasonable measures to keep animals, including pets, away from the growing area to avoid contamination.
  3. Producer shall take measures to minimize the leaking of equipment fluids, concentrated nutrients, and pesticides in the growing grounds.
  4. Producer shall ensure that pesticides and fertilizers are utilized in accordance with federal, state, and local requirements and in accordance with manufacturers instructions.

© Copyright 1997-2017, The County of Mendocino
501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482