1.     How do I know if my farm is covered by the FSMA Produce Rule?

If your farm grows produce, the Produce Rule standards for growing, harvesting, packing and holding produce apply to you unless your farm falls into at least one of these three categories:

  1. You only grow:
  • produce that will be commercially processed in a manner that kills pathogens. HOWEVER, you must :
    (1) obtain documentation annually from your customers to prove that they are properly processing those fruits or vegetables, and (2) include a disclosure with your produce sales that you have not processed those items to kill pathogens; AND/OR
  • produce that is rarely consumed raw.  FDA has defined an exhaustive (complete) list of fruits and vegetables that it considers to fall in this category:

Asparagus; black, great Northern, kidney, lima, navy, and pinto beans; garden beets (roots and tops); sugar beets; cashews; sour cherries; chickpeas; cocoa beans; coffee beans; collards; sweet corn; cranberries; dates; dill (seeds and weed); eggplants; figs; ginger; hazelnuts; horseradish; lentils; okra; peanuts; pecans; peppermint; potatoes; pumpkins; winter squash; sweet potatoes; and water chestnuts.

2. Your 2014-16 average of annual produce sales is less than $26,632.[1]

3. You are qualified exempt because:

    1.     You sold more than $26,632 in produce/year averaged over the last 3 years;
    2.     Your 2014-16 average of annual total food sales (produce and all other crops, livestock and value-added products) is less than $532,645; and
    3.     More than 50% of those food sales are to qualified end-users[2] such as: restaurants and retail food establishments (including direct-to-store sales) located in your same state or within a 275 mile radius of your farm; and consumers through direct marketing (such as internet sales, farmers markets, community supported agriculture, etc.).

NOTE: If you are qualified exempt, most of the Produce Safety Rule does not apply to your farm, but there are special requirements you must meet. For more information see the FSMA FAQ SheetWhat Are the Special Rules for Qualified Exempt Farms?

2.     My farm does not meet any of these exemptions.  What do I do now?

If your farm grows produce and does not fall into any of categories A, B or C above, your farm is fully covered Produce Safety Rule.  Your deadline for compliance with the Produce Safety Rule depends on the value of your farm’s average annual produce sales.  For more information, see the FSMA FAQ Sheet Produce Rule Compliance Deadlines by Farm Size.’

For more information about what the Produce Rule means for your farm, see the FSMA FAQ Sheet What are the Basic Requirements of the Produce Rule?



[1] The sales thresholds to qualify for the exemptions in B. and C. above are adjusted annually for inflation.  For more information, see the FSMA FAQ SheetWhat Are the Special Rules for Qualified Exempt Farms?

[2] Wholesalers and local distributors such as food hubs do not count as qualified end-users, unless the food hub counts as a retail food establishment or a secondary activities farm, as defined by FDA.