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).
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 Regulations.gov, 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:
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.
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: http://sustainableagriculture.net/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.