A UF/IFAS post-harvest Extension specialist shared advice on upcoming changes for food safety requirements via the Food Safety Modernization Act.

The Florida Citrus Show in Fort Pierce saw an update from Mark Ritenour, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) post-harvest Extension specialist, on upcoming changes to the Produce Safety Rule, according to a Citrus Industry article. The Food Safety Modernization Act has required that the Food and Drug Administration update its Produce Safety Rule, a change that will impact fresh fruit citrus growers and packers. See Ritenour’s advice below.

Advice on Food Safety Requirements

  1. Growers and packers should review the currently available rule changes draft and make comments. It will be available for review and comments through April 22nd. The Final Rule Contents can be reviewed here.
  2. Perform an on-farm readiness review. The reviews are performed through a partnership between the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and UF/IFAS. “They’ve really developed a nice program where they’ll go out to the farm…Just so you can see how all the rules might actually apply to your operation … It’s really a training opportunity. It’s free … It’s all for you to take advantage of,” Ritenour shared. The reviews are an opportunity to have the requirements and paperwork explained. Sign up for an on-farm readiness review here.
  3. Plan on completing training. The Produce Safety Rule requires one representative from every farm to attend the Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training or another FDA-recognized curriculum. According to Ritenour, maybe only 25 percent of Florida operations have completed the trainings. “So we’ve got a long way to go,” he said in the article. See training offerings here.

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.