The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) became law in 2011, and authorizes new regulations for farmers who grow fresh produce and for certain facilities that process fresh produce for people to eat.  Once Congress passes a bill, it is sent to the federal agency that will be in charge of implementing it; in this case, that is the FDA.  The FDA is currently in what is known as the rulemaking stage, meaning they are turning the bill passed by Congress into actual rules and regulations.  In 2013, the agency published its proposed regulations for:

These new rules under FSMA would have had devastating impacts on sustainable and organic food production in the US.

As written, the rules would have:

  • put many farms and local food businesses out of business;
  • reduced the supply of fresh, local produce in schools and hospitals;
  • pushed farmers to tear out wildlife habitat; and
  • increased the use of chemicals rather than natural fertilizers.

Farmers and local food entrepreneurs know that food safety is critical.  But the 2013 FSMA rules would have make it harder for American farmers to provide the fresh fruits and vegetables that are key to fixing our nation’s epidemics of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.


Decades of progress towards building a better food and farm future could have literally been wiped out by the 2013 FSMA rules.  CFSA and our allies rallied farmers, entrepreneurs and activists nationwide to submit comments on these flawed rules.  In a stunning victory, the FDA went back to the drawing board; drafting new rules for public comment, which were released September 2014.


During the debate on FSMA in Congress, sustainable agriculture won a number of critical protections – including requirements that the new rules must be scale- and supply-chain-appropriate for different kinds of farms, that they must not conflict with existing conservation programs or organic practices, that they could not squash low-risk processing activities by farms and food entrepreneurs, and more.


CFSA will continue to work with FDA and other farm groups and with concerned Members of Congress to ensure that the final rules support a flexible, scale- and supply-chain appropriate framework that supports the growth and success of local food and organic agriculture.


“Our community spoke loud and clear last year that FDA’s approach to food safety regulation was fundamentally flawed,” said Roland McReynolds, CFSA Executive Director.  “Now we get another opportunity to influence these rules.  We have a responsibility to once again make our voices heard if we want to protect and expand local food and organic farming.”


Stay Informed  

CFSA will issue regular updates and information on this website as we analyze the rules’ impact on sustainable farm and food systems.

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