Food Safety Modernization Act
Produce Rule Resource Center
Government regulations are not new to producers of California leafy greens. The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) has been in place since 2007 as the best model to produce safe food because it establishes a culture of food safety on the farm. In January 2013 new federal laws overseeing fruits and vegetable food safety were issued as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Visit this page for the latest information on FDA’s proposed Produce Rule and how it will affect leafy green farmers.
See How The LGMA aligns with proposed FSMA guidelines
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LGMA Comments on Preventative Controls Revisions 12.14
The New Produce Rule and the new Leafy Greens Industry.
What are the major elements of proposed Produce Rule under the FSMA?
The LGMA is pleased to see that the rules being proposed by the FDA closely reflect the existing LGMA food safety model. FDA is proposing specific standards for:
- Animals and environmental risks
- Soil amendments
- Training and education
- Worker hygiene and safety
When will the Produce Rule go into Effect?
The final produce rule was published by the FDA in November of 2015. And the rule went into effect (became the “law of the land”) in January of 2016. However, compliance with the rule does not become mandatory until January 26, 2018.
At what point in time will my farm have to be in compliance with the Produce Rule requirements?
Most farms (those with over $500,000 in sales) must be in compliance with the produce rule on January 26, 2018. Smaller farms have one or two additional years (and of course, the smallest farms are either exempted or qualify for exemptions). The rule provides an additional two years for compliance with water testing requirements, so large farms must by in compliance with that section by January of 2020.
Does the Produce Rule mean additional food safety requirements for LGMA members?
The existing LGMA food safety practices meet or exceed most of the requirements of the proposed produce rule. The LGMA is working to update the Metrics so that everything is covered – our goal is to ensure that compliance with the LGMA Metrics equals compliance with the Produce Rule’s requirements.
Will the Produce Rule require additional inspections of my farm beyond what is currently conducted?
FDA has acknowledged that it does not have the resources to start inspecting every farm in the country. The LGMA is working closely with FDA and with CDFA to make sure that the new federal food safety rules do not result in additional audits and inspections of farms that are already being audited under the LGMA program. We are confident that verification of compliance with the new federal rules can be provided through the existing LGMA program.
Are there additional fees I will be required to pay as a result of the Produce Rule?
Additional fees are not required in the Food Safety Modernization Act or the Produce Rule.
I understand that some operations are exempt from the new laws. Who is exempt and why?
When it passed the Food Safety Modernization Act, Congress included an exemption for small farmers. The “ Tester amendment” exempts companies who sell locally and who sell less than $250,000 worth of product a year, with 51% of that or more going to local sales, from the requirement to comply with the food safety laws. In addition, the proposed produce rule offers additional classifications of very small and small companies who, while required to comply with the new rules, will be given more time to do so. Finally, FDA has exempted all farms that produce less than $25,000 in annual products.
What is the status of water testing requirements in the Produce Rule?
The water section of the produce rule is under review by FDA. Once the rule was published, the agency received many comments from the produce industry expressing concerns about the water testing methodology mandated by the rule, the testing frequency and the use of generic e coli as an indicator organism, among other things. The FDA agreed to re-assess the water section of the rule, and to provide either new guidance or revised regulations on these issues. No timeline has been provided for this re-assessment.