Explore the basic things you need to know when it comes to the FDA’s approaching Produce Safety Rule.
The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act features a Produce Safety Rule that is set to impact many of the nation’s growers. The rule covers certain produce growers and governs food safety practices. Read a Q&A below from the Vegetable and Specialty Crop News website that explains the basics of the Produce Safety Rule.
Q&A on the FDA’s Produce Safety Rule
Q: Why is this rule necessary?
A: Foodborne illness due to contaminated produce has caused the need for a modern Produce Safety Rule. This rule ensures food safety from the very beginning to try to prevent illnesses from happening. According to the FDA, an estimated 332,000 illnesses per year are expected to be prevented by the rule.
Q: What produce is covered, and what produce is not?
A; All kinds of produce are covered by the Produce Safety Rule, except those that meet the following exceptions given by the FDA:
- Produce that is grown for personal or on-farm consumption
- Produce that is not a “raw agricultural commodity” (An agricultural commodity is any food in its raw or natural state.)
- Produce that will receive commercial processing that reduces microorganisms of public health concern is eligible for exemption under certain conditions.
- Produce that is on the “rarely consumed raw” list (https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2015-28159/p-2005)
Q: What are the compliance dates?
A: According to the FDA, compliance dates after the effective date of the final rule (November 2015) are as follows:
- Very small businesses (more than $25,000, but no more than $250,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three-year period): four years from November 2015
- Small businesses (more than $250,000, but no more than $500,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three-year period): three years from November 2015
- All other farms: two years from November 2015
Q: What if farmers need help meeting the requirements?
A: The FDA has been working to ensure there are plenty of resources, trainings and assistance available for growers to use in order to correctly comply with the Produce Safety Rule. This month, growers have an opportunity to attend a Produce Safety Alliance grower training course on April 20 in Tavares, Florida. Visit the FDA’s website to get more detail on the Produce Safety Rule.
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.