In 2010, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the first major overhaul of national food safety rules in more than 75 years. At the direction of Congress, in January 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released two proposed food safety rules aimed at reducing incidences of food borne illness. The final rules for Produce Safety and Preventive Controls were released by the FDA in fall 2015.
The Produce Safety rule includes Standards for Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption, and applies to domestic and imported produce. The rule does not apply to some categories of produce or covered farms that have average annual produce sales of $25,000 or less during the prior three year period. Farms with less than $500,000 in annual sales that predominately sell locally fall under a qualified exemption and modified requirements. Recordkeeping is critical for all produce farms.
The Produce Safety rule places a strong emphasis on water quality and includes a comprehensive water testing protocol, as well as staff training requirements and standards to keep equipment, tools, and buildings free from contamination.
For more information, read the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's (NSAC) blog on the produce rule here.
The Preventive Controls rule establishes new prevention-oriented food safety requirements, called Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC) and updates the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) requirements.
All facilities required to register with the FDA are subject to recordkeeping and training requirements. If you are exempt from parts of the rule, you still need to maintain those records.
It is important to understand how FDA defines your operation in order to determine whether and how your business needs to comply with the rules.
Read more about the Preventive Controls rule on NSAC's blog.
You can read through FDA's FSMA blog, ask questions, and read responses from other questions here.
OEFFA knows the FSMA regulations can be daunting. We're here to help you understand the requirements and wade through the avalanche of resources out there. Thanks to a Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, OEFFA will be working with selected farms in 2016 and 2017 to help them identify food safety risks on their farms and develop food safety plans. OEFFA will generate case studies so other farms can learn from this experience. Our sustainable agriculture educator can also answer your questions, provide resources, and help assist you along your food safety path. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209.
The success of our policy work relies on OEFFA's dedicated members, who are leading the way to strong and healthy local food systems. For more information about OEFFA's policy work or to get involved, email@example.com (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208.