In November of 2015, the FDA released the final version of the Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The rule became effective January 26, 2016 and from that date produce farms will have 1 to 6 years to come into compliance with the rules depending on their size and activities.
The rule is intended to “minimize the risk of serious adverse health consequences or death from consumption of contaminated produce” by establishing science based standards for safely growing, packing and holding produce meant to be consumed raw. Produce is defined as fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, peanuts, tree nuts, herbs and sprouts.
The full text of the rules can be found here: Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption
The document starts out with the comments the public submitted during the comment period and the responses from the FDA. It then moves on to references. On pg 195 of 216 of the pdf version, or about 85% of the way down in the online version, the codified rules begin. The codified rules are the specific legal requirements that farms who are covered by the rules will need to follow. The formal text and legal language can be complicated to follow, so what follows are some tips to make it simpler.
Tips for Making Sense of the Document
- Start with the codified rules.
- Next use the find in page feature to search specific topics you have questions about. For example if you are interested to learn more about the rules regulating the use of sanitizers search on “sanitiz”, that will identify any place in the document that refers to sanitize, sanitizing, sanitizer, or sanitized.