Food Safety Modernization Act

farm-bill-slideBackground on the Food Safety Modernization Act

The President signed the Food Safety Modernization Act into law in 2011.  The law requires that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issue regulations to implement the Act, including regulating farmers who grow and sell fresh produce and regulating facilities that pack, store or process produce.

The FDA proposed rules in 2013 that could have a huge impact on how fresh fruits and vegetables are grown and processed in the US. The agency proposed a slew of regulations including:

The proposed rules were met with a storm of public comments, causing the FDA to reconsider some of its proposals. 

Take Action

The FDA will be proposing revised rules in the summer of 2014. Prepare by:

  • Learn about the impact FSMA may have on local and organic farmers, on-farm food processors, and consumers who care about where food comes from, by visiting the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s website. CFSA is a member of the coalition.
  • Review CFSA’s comments on the Produce Rule and the Preventive Controls Rule, as well as the comments submitted by a coalition of North Carolina-based agricultural interests (including CFSA).
  • Stay tuned for the chance to submit comments in the summer of 2014 when the FDA releases revised proposed rules.

About FSMA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year proposed new regulations that will have a huge impact on how fresh fruits and vegetables are grown and processed in the US.  FDA has issued these new regulations for produce farms and for facilities that process food for human consumption under the authority of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
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TAKE ACTION – Comment Now!

The Food and Drug Administration will accept comments submitted online or through the mail.  Follow these instructions to submit your own comments to FDA!

First Things First: If you haven’t done so already, check out the Issues Page

Step-by-Step Instructions for Commenting Online:

The best way to comment on the proposed rules is through the government website, which hosts the proposed rules for viewing and a form the public can use to submit comments for consideration. The process can be a little bit confusing; these instructions will help you understand how it works:

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September 11 – FDA’s Proposed Produce Rule is “Food-Safety Theatre”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Proposed Produce Rule is a substantively defective product. It’s not a question of the difficulty and costs of compliance and enforcement or of farm size or a commodity’s inherent safety – although these are important issues.

The case I want to present is that FDA made seriously wrong choices on too many issues: irrigation water standards; biological inputs such as compost, radiological and chemical hazards; sprout production and fresh-cut production; epidemiological data and economic analysis. Like other hazardous and defective products, the Proposed Rule should be recalled.

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August 20 – Agricultural Water Standards in FSMA – How it Affects Farmers

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has worked around the clock to interpret the 1,500+ page Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and break it down into easily digestible sections of information.  Below is their take on the proposed agricultural water standards in FSMA and how it will dramatically change the way farmers manage one of their most important resources.  The full text and other resources can be found on the NSAC website:

Proposed Agricultural Water Standards in FSMA:

The proposed standards for agricultural water include:

  • General water quality requirements;
  • Water system inspection requirements;
  • Water treatment requirements;
  • Water testing requirements;
  • Requirements for water used in harvesting, packing, and holding of produce; and
  • Recordkeeping requirements.

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Specific Ways FDA “Food Safety Modernization Act” Will Harm Sustainable Agriculture

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed regulations imposing new safety requirements for farms and food businesses, under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  Everything from salad mixes and salsas to cheese and u-pick fruit will be affected, and the costs for local food producers will be crushing.  Local food producers and supporters must act now, and tell FDA to keep its hands off local food.

FSMA Download

 Rules Too Expensive for Farms and Families, and Increase Dependence on Imports

  • How many farms will go out of business?  FDA’s numbers show that the typical produce farm with less than $250,000 in sales will spend 6% of its revenue to comply with proposed on-farm regulations.  The average net income for farmers nationally was 10% of sales in 2011; so for almost all small farms, FSMA will consume more than half those profits.  FDA admits that the rules will reduce the number of new farms entering business.

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July 22 – Why You Don’t Want to be a “Facility”

CFSA has previously featured information about what counts as a ‘facility’ for purposes of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations proposed by FDA (Link).  The principle challenge in the facility concept is that it encompasses a huge portion of the low-risk activities farms, food hubs, and cooperative produce distributors normally conduct—for example storing, packing, holding and packaging fruits and vegetables; milling grains; and making maple or sorghum syrups.
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July 12 – ‘What is a Food Facility’? Whatever FDA Says it Is (And That’s a Big Problem)

The most complex and potentially devastating threat in the FDA’s proposed food safety regulations has its roots not in a major foodborne illness outbreak or recall, but in the spasm of terrorism fears that gripped this country after the 9/11 attacks.  In 2002, Congress gave FDA sweeping new powers in a misconceived attempt to prevent terrorists from poisoning the food supply.  The Bioterroism Act (BTA) required every food-manufacturing ‘facility’ in the US to register with FDA.
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June 26 – Federal Food Safety Laws Could Cost Industry Millions

WOOSTER, Ohio — When the new federal produce safety rules become effective — a process likely to happen in the next 12 months — they will do so at an additional cost to the farmers who must comply.

The Food and Drug Administration estimates that its new rules, which meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act, will prevent 1.75 million foodborne illnesses, with about $1.04 billion in estimated benefits.

At the same time, the new rules will cost the produce industry about $460 million annually and $171 million annually for foreign farms that export to the United States.

The rules, which are available for public comment in the Federal Register until Sept. 16, are estimated to cost a “very small farm,“ about $4,700 a year. Small farms would pay nearly $13,000 a year, and large farms, will pay $30,500.

June 20 – Good News! Let’s Keep Pushing on the Farm Bill

Last night local, organic food and farming scored a big win when the US House of Representatives, with overwhelming bipartisan support, adopted the Benishek Amendment to the House version of the Farm Bill.

The amendment prevents the Food and Drug Administration from enforcing its terrible proposed rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act until it does a REAL economic and scientific impact analysis of the rules.

This is not a final victory by any stretch—there is no guarantee the language will make it into the final version of Farm Bill, and even if it does, FDA still may find a way around it. That’s why it is still so vital for us all to comment to FDA on their proposed FSMA rules, and you can learn more about the rules and how to comment at CFSA’s FSMA action page:

House Farm Bill Amendment votes continue today, and there is still one critical amendment we need to pass, and two awful ones that must be defeated:

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