Will the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Regulations Get Rolled Back?
Published: December 20, 2016
This question has justifiably surfaced, to my knowledge, three times: at the FSMA training (see FSMA article), at the Western Produce Auction annual meeting (in November in S. Iowa) and at the Central Missouri Produce Auction annual meeting (Dec. 2nd). President-elect Trump did campaign on reducing regulations. So the short answer is, no one knows.
There are several reasons to not expect it. They are as follows:
- FSMA passed with bipartisan support.
- FSMA is a law, not an executive order. The latter is much easier for a new president to roll back or eliminate than a law.
- This issue is relatively low profile, compared to the regulations getting much discussion. Much anti-regulation discussion has centered on health care reform, energy (e.g. power plant emissions, especially from coal), labor (e.g. overtime regulations), and finance (some regulations under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform). These have received active discussion all through the campaign and are still ‘in the news’.
- There is some industry support for FSMA, or at least a recognition that without it, there could be confusion about ‘where now?’
However, there was some mention on this subject specifically during the campaign. The Packer Magazine (the Business News of the Produce Industry: http://www.thepacker.com/) reported on this on Sept. 19th, by Andy Nelson.
- It reported that a fact sheet was posted on a Trump campaign web site on Sept. 15th. In this document, the campaign criticizes the “FDA Food Police, which dictate how the federal government expects farmers to produce fruits and vegetables,” among other things. By Sept. 19th this fact sheet was no longer on the web site.
The Packer continues to cover this issue, with two December articles. One concerned the selection of Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, as being positive for growers, given he’s against the EPA extending regulations (agriculture included). Also mentioned was the cabinet level nomination of Tom Price of Georgia, for Department of Health and Human Services, who as a representative voted against FSMA. This cabinet position oversees the FDA.
The short answer… no one knows. Unfortunately, for anyone wanting to wait on this issue, one might not know anything for some time. And then changes could get challenged and complicated. The good news for most growers selling at produce auctions (between $25K & $250K in annual sales), is that they have until January of 2020 to comply. So if one wants to wait and see, one likely has enough time.