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Creating Smart Food Safety Regulations

Food Safety Modernization Act Status Report

In 2010, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the first major overhaul of national food safety rules in more than 75 years. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the final rules for the Produce Safety and Preventive Controls in 2015.

The Produce Safety rule has the most impact for farmers and includes includes Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption. Produce farms grossing less than $25,000 during the prior three-year period are exempt. 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 under FSMA and all farms need to take steps to minimize the risks of contamination on the farm and to keep adulterated food from entering the food supply.

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.

The Preventive Controls rule establishes new prevention-oriented food safety requirements for food processing facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold human food.

All food processing facilities are required to register with the FDA and 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.

You can find detailed information about both of these rules through on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s Food Safety blog.

FDA also has a FSMA blog where you can post questions. 

Find compliance dates and answers to Frequently Asked Questions about FSMA here.

The FSMA regulations can be daunting. OEFFA is here to help you understand the requirements and wade through the avalanche of resources. Thanks to a Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, we will be working with selected farms in 2016 and 2017 to help them identify food safety risks and develop food safety plans. At the end of the project, case studies will be available for so other farms can learn from this experience. Our sustainable agriculture educator can also answer your questions, provide resources, and help assist you get ready for FSMA compliance. Email eric@oeffa.org or call (614) 421-2022.

Learn More

  • Read more about the Produce Safety rule here.
  • Read more about the Preventive Controls rule here.
  • View this FDA flowchart to see if your farm is covered or exempt.
  • Read this Wild Farm Alliance report on managing conservation activities under the Produce Safety rule.
  • OEFFA's Newsroom includes other news articles and OEFFA press releases and testimony

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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, contact policy@oeffa.org or (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208.

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