FDA Establishes Food Safety Standards for Produce Farms

On Friday, November 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published the final Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The Produce Safety Rule establishes food safety standards for produce farms in the United States.

Will the Produce Safety Rule impact my operation?

The Produce Safety Rule includes requirements that address water quality, employee health and hygiene, wild and domesticated animals, manure and compost application, equipment, and buildings.

For a run-down on the Produce Safety Rule and organic operations, see the Organic Trade Association’s response to the newly published rules.

The FSMA Produce Safety Rule may affect you if you grow, harvest, pack, or store fruits or vegetables. For more information, take a look at FDA’s Produce Safety Rule Flowchart and visit FDA’s FSMA Final Rule on Produce Safety page.

When do I need to comply with the new food safety standards?

FDA has staggered compliance dates for the Produce Safety Rule by farm size, as well as whether or not an operation produces sprouts.

For farms producing sprouts, the earliest compliance date is one year from the effective date of the final rule.

For produce farms that do not produce sprouts, the earliest compliance date is two years after the effective date of the final rule.

FDA has allowed extra time for small and very small businesses to comply with Produce Safety Rule standards. For produce operations that do not produce sprouts, FDA extended the compliance dates for small businesses to three years, and very small businesses to four years.

Sprout producers that fall within the small business category will have two years to comply. Very small businesses producing sprouts will have three years to comply.

Where can I find more information?

FDA’s FSMA webpage provides links the latest FSMA news, food safety resources, and links to the Produce Safety Rule and other FSMA regulations.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition hosts a FSMA webpage and blog series with information on FSMA and food safety. The Organic Trade Association also hosts a FSMA webpage.