Food Safety Modernization Act proposed produce safety rule open for comment
Fresh market produce growers now have the opportunity to see and comment on the proposed produce safety rules issued by the FDA.
January 4, 2013, marked an auspicious day for food safety in fresh produce: The FDA released the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act produce safety rule. In it are sweeping and specific guidelines to growing fresh produce that are meant to make the safest produce supply in the world even safer. The rule covers practices regarding manure, water sources and uses with regards to farming, employee hygiene and training, and equipment sanitation. Some parts of the rule are very similar to past guidelines regarding food safety, while some are not.
Many crops that are usually cooked are not covered under the produce rule, such as asparagus, beets, brussels sprouts, collard greens, eggplant, kale, kidney beans, parsnips, pinto beans, potatoes, rutabaga, sugarbeets, sweet corn, turnips and winter squash. In addition, if the fresh produce is grown and sold for processing, it is not covered in the rule.
Public comment on the rule is currently being collected until May 16. Three options to comment are by submitting them online, faxing them to the FDA at 301-827-6870 or mailing them to:
Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
As of Feb. 1, 2013, these rules are proposed and not final. The final rule regarding fresh produce may vary, so it is important to stay aware of what is finally decided. It is also important that the FDA hears from you about possible costs associated with compliance or potential impacts to production.
Go online to read more about the rule or if you would like to comment on the proposed rule. If you have specific questions about the produce rule or have difficulty tailoring GAPs to your farm, contact the Agrifood Safety Work Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-788-4292.
Related Michigan State University Extension article