Clements: The Produce Safety Rule, part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, will go into effect January 26 for farms with $500,000 or more in revenue. The Food and Drug Administration has emphasized the first year will focus less on regulation and compliance and more on education and readiness. Regardless, AFBF economist Veronica Nigh says produce growers need to be ready for implementation of the complex rule.
Nigh: The Produce Safety Rule sets new rules for how growers of produce have to comply in certain areas like biological soil amendments, domesticated and wild animals, worker training and health and hygiene standards, equipment, tools and buildings, and agricultural water. For those largest farms, they’re going to need to start being in compliance with all of those rules, with the exception of ag water, on January 26.
Clements: Nigh says it is important for all produce farms to carefully review the rule.
Nigh: We really encourage all of our produce growers to review the rule, go through it point by point, sign up for the on-farm readiness review, make sure that their operation is in fact up to code, up to standard, and ready to roll.
Clements: Implementation of the rule for small farms, with sales between $250,000 and $500,000, along with very small farms, with sales between $25,000 and $250,000, will follow over time. Nigh says those farms should watch closely how large farms manage compliance with the rule.
Nigh: Smaller farms will really benefit from watching how the Produce Safety Rule is implemented on the ground and what it looks like for the larger farms. They get a little bit more time. So, one more year for small farms and two more years for the very small farms.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.
For more on the Produce Safety Rule, check out AFBF's lastest Market Intel report.