FDA Updates Produce Safety FAQ
On June 11, 2019, FDA updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on FSMA to include additional questions and answers related to the Produce Safety Rule that the Agency received through the FSMA Technical Assistance Network (TAN).
The FAQ covers a wide range of topics, from defined terms (e.g., “qualified end-use” and “retail food establishment”) to training of personnel requirements, health and hygiene, agricultural water requirements, and recordkeeping. For example, the FAQ clarifies the status of the agricultural water requirements and stated that “FDA will be engaging with stakeholders to learn more from farmers, state regulatory partners and other stakeholders about the diverse ways water is used to ensure that the standards will be as practical and effective as possible for all farming operations. As [they] continue to meet with stakeholders and review new data and information, [they] will be assessing not only which aspects of the agricultural water standards are proving most challenging for growers, but also the appropriate mechanism for addressing those concerns.”
FDA finalized the Produce Safety Rule in 2015, which established science-and risk-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables. Since then, the FDA has been working to provide farms with training to comply with the rule’s requirements. Most recently, FDA published draft guidance to assist in developing alternate curricula to satisfy rule training requirements. You can find out more about the alternate curricula requirements here.