The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) ‘re’-released the proposed rule for the food safety modernization act (FSMA) in September. As expected, it addressed a number of issues that the FDA said they would when they pulled the proposed rule for revision. To aide growers in quickly understanding the changes, an insert has been included in this newsletter. It contains 3 key postings from the FDA website:
A brief reminder may be helpful for those who haven’t followed this issue closely. The FSMA was signed into law in Jan. 2011 and it took 2 years, until Jan. 2013, for the proposed rule to be released. The commentary period on that rule was extended several times last year until almost the year end (Nov.). It was then pulled and the final rule was expected. But the FDA shortly announced it would ‘re’-release the proposed rule and address 4 key issues that were receiving most of the comments.
The publishing of the final rule is anticipated by this coming summer or fall. The comment period for the proposed rule is open until Dec. 15th.
Becoming certified under Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) will still be part of the process. So growers working on that should still continue with their efforts. While the water testing requirements are proposed with significant changes, these will only be definite with the final rule. In the meantime, the GAP certifier works with the grower to comply for GAPs.
The FSMA will not just affect which growers and facilities will need to be GAP certified. The FDA will also be changing its inspection of fresh produce. See the short article on the back page about Missouri produce auctions having produce sampled.
REVISED: November 23, 2015