FDA Slated to Extend Compliance Dates for Agricultural Water Standards
Agricultural water can be a major conduit of pathogens that can contaminate produce. FDA’s Produce Safety Rule, implemented under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), establishes agricultural water standards. In particular, the Produce Safety Rule sets microbial quality standards for agricultural water, including irrigation water that comes into contact with produce. In March 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was exploring ways to simplify the agricultural water standards established by FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule in light of feedback from stakeholders that some of the requirements were too complex to understand and implement.
Today, FDA announced its intention to extend the compliance dates for agricultural water requirements in the Produce Safety Rule (other than for sprouts). According to the announcement, FDA intends to use this additional time to work with industry to develop an approach that addresses stakeholder concerns while achieving the Agency’s enumerated public health goals.
FDA intends to extend the compliance dates using appropriate administrative procedures at a later time.