FDA Provides States Flexibility to Start Routine Inspections on Small Farms As Early As January 1
As previously reported, both states’ departments of agriculture and FDA have begun visits to produce farms to conduct inspections for compliance with the Produce Safety Rule. The FSMA final Produce Safety Rule was published on November 27, 2015 (80 FR 74353) and establishes science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce. Our detailed summary of the rule is available here.
Routine inspections of small farms, other than sprout operations, subject to the Produce Safety Rule, will generally begin in Spring 2020; however, the FDA announced on December 6, 2019 that the Agency is clarifying that states receiving competition A/B funding as part of the State Produce Implementation Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) may begin routine inspections as early as January 1, 2020.
This clarification is being made after several requests from states to have greater flexibility to align routine inspections with the winter growing season where applicable. Individual states will make final decisions on whether to initiate their first routine inspections of small farms at the earlier date in January 2020.