Organic Broadcaster

FSMA-Produce Coverage flowchart v6

First compliance date for FSMA this month, enforcement in 2019

By Bailey Webster, MOSES

The first compliance date for most produce under the Produce Safety Rule, which is part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), is Jan. 26, 2018. However, the FDA has said that there will be no inspections or enforcement until 2019. The agency is in a period of education and outreach right now, allowing farmers time to understand and comply with the rule without concern about penalties. This is a good time to study up on the rule and understand how FSMA affects you and your farm.

The Produce Safety Alliance is the definitive resource for FSMA. See producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu. MOSES also has put together a webpage with resources: mosesorganic.org/farming/farming-topics/market/food-safety.

The first thing growers will want to do is understand whether their farm is covered by the rule, not covered by the rule, or eligible to be qualified exempt. See the chart below to understand which category your farm falls under.

Not Covered
Farms that are not covered by the rule have no legal obligation to do anything for FSMA. All growers should follow basic food safety practices, of course. To learn best practices, consider taking a class. MOSES offers two: the Organic University all-day course Feb. 22 in La Crosse, Wis. provides an overview of food safety, GAP, and FSMA rules and marketing opportunities for farms that achieve certification. See OrganicUniversity.org. We’re also offering a food safety workshop the Friday prior to New Farmer U April 27 in Wisconsin Dells. This workshop takes you step-by-step through developing a food safety plan for your farm. See mosesorganic.org/events/food-safety-workshop.

Covered
Farms that are covered by the rule must have one person on staff who has successfully completed a Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training Course or equivalent training. Growers who have completed the seven-hour PSA Grower Training Course are eligible to receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO). This certificate does not expire, and belongs to the individual, not the farm. If that employee should leave the farm, another person from the farm would have to attend the training and receive a certificate.

The Produce Safety Alliance website lists upcoming grower trainings in every state. See producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/training/grower-training-courses/upcoming-grower-trainings.

Covered farms must also comply with the requirements of the FDA Produce Safety Rule. (www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm334114.htm) Inspections and enforcement will be handled differently depending on the state, and will not go into effect until 2019 at the earliest.

Qualified Exempt
Farms that are qualified exempt must keep sales records documenting that they do not reach the minimum sales requirement for covered produce. Qualified exempt farms must also notify consumers of the complete business address of the farm where the produce is grown, harvested, packed, and held. These requirements are covered in Sections 112.6 and 112.7 of the Produce Safety Rule.

State University Representatives
While the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule are federal, enforcement falls to states. Because the FDA is in a period of education and outreach, states are still in the process of planning their enforcement strategies, which could vary by state.

For questions specific to your Midwestern state, contact your University representative:

Illinois:
Mosbah M. Kushad, Ph.D.
University of Illinois
217-244-5691 or kushad@uiuc.edu

Iowa:
Angela M. Shaw, Ph.D.
Iowa State University
Food Safety Extension
515-294-0868 or angelaml@iastate.edu

Minnesota:
Annalisa Hultberg
University of Minnesota Extension
612-625-1951 or hultb006@umn.edu

North Dakota:
Julie Garden-Robinson
701-231-7187 or Julie.Garden-Robinson@ndsu.edu

South Dakota:
Rhoda Burrows
Group GAP for Food Safety
605-394-2236 or rhoda.burrows@sdstate.edu

Wisconsin:
Barbara H. Ingham, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
608-263-7383 or bhingham@wisc.edu

Bailey Webster is a certified Produce Safety Alliance trainer, and can answer produce safety questions. Reach her in the MOSES office at 715-778-5775 or email bailey@mosesorganic.org.

 

From the January | February 2018 Issue

Comments are closed.