What is the FSMA Produce Safety Rule?
The Produce Safety Rule is part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that was passed by President Obama on January 4, 2011. This regulation focuses on setting the first-ever federal regulatory standards for the production, harvest, and handling of fruits and vegetables, in an effort to prevent microbial contamination and reduce foodborne illnesses associated with fresh produce. The Produce Safety Rule was made available publicly on November 13, 2015 and was published in the Federal Register on November 27, 2015.
What does the FSMA Produce Safety Rule cover?
The Produce Safety Rule, outlined in Section 105 of FSMA, establishes science-based minimum standards for safe production and harvesting of fresh fruits and vegetables. The rule is divided into several parts, including standards for:
- Worker health, hygiene, and training
- Agricultural water, both for production and post-harvest uses
- Biological soil amendments (e.g., compost, manure)
- Domesticated and wild animals
- Equipment, tools, buildings, and sanitation
- Production of sprouts*
If my farm is excluded or exempt from the PSR, how do I apply?
Some growers may be excluded based upon commodities grown, average annual produce sales, and/or personal / on-farm consumption. Some growers may be exempt based upon processing activities that include a “kill step”, or average annual food sales to “qualified end users.”
Regardless all growers should act to reduce food safety risks on the firm. The first step is to register your business and if applicable apply annually for an exemption.