First Take on FDA’s Final Produce Rule
Today the final Produce Rule, part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), has been issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Although the rule is now final, farmers who fall under the new law have several years to come into compliance.
At the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, we are carefully combing through the final rule to make sure our own food safety requirements meet or exceed what’s in this new law; LGMA members are committed to ensuring that compliance with the LGMA equals compliance with the Produce Rule.
We would like to be clear on a few points:
- The LGMA does not want exemptions
LGMA members welcome the Produce Rule. For growers and handlers of leafy greens in California the new law will result in very little change, because a system nearly identical to FSMA has been in place for the past eight years.
- The LGMA is committed to aligning with the new law
As we review the final Produce Rule, we will determine if there is anything in the LGMA program that doesn’t match-up. And, if so, we have the ability to change our requirements to make sure we’re in compliance.
- The LGMA can help with verification of compliance for California leafy greens.
The FDA is now focused on determining how to verify that our farms are in compliance with the new laws. Currently, FDA has not determined how inspections needed to verify compliance will be implemented or funded. We believe our program can serve as a vehicle to verify compliance with FSMA for California leafy greens because it operates with USDA and CDFA oversight, utilizes government auditors and it is fully funded with no cost to tax payers.
- We are pleased to see that, in the final rule, kale is no longer exempted from the requirements
One more thing to remember it is that food safety measures have long been in place at most U.S. produce farms – and certainly for California leafy greens. This new law will formalize the system and provide additional government oversight to make sure the laws are being followed. And that’s a good thing for us all – Not just because it’s now the law, but because it’s the right thing to do.
You can view the final Produce Rule from FDA here: