Washington, DC - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued updated draft guidance for industry with respect to “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption.” The purpose of the guidance, or guidelines, is to help produce farms understand what they must do to comply with the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act.
This means that the FDA is getting closer to requiring full compliance with the rule, and that corresponding inspections through the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Produce Safety Program are getting closer to reality.
A series of public hearings about this information is being held around the country in the coming months, including one in California. That meeting is scheduled for November 29, 2018 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm at the Doubletree Suites by Hilton, at the Anaheim Resort Convention Center, 2085 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92802. More information about the meeting and registration information is available here. An option to participate via webcast is available.
Additionally, people may submit written comments about the draft guidelines. They can be sent to the FDA no later than April 22, 2019. Information on how to submit comments can be found here.
The guidelines provide a broad range of recommendations on how to meet the requirements of the rule. The FDA has provided an “At-a-Glance” overview of key points in each of the nine chapters:
Chapter 1: General Provisions
Chapter 2: Personnel Qualifications and Training
Chapter 3: Health and Hygiene
Chapter 4: Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin and Human Waste
Chapter 5: Domesticated and Wild Animals
Chapter 6: Growing, Harvesting, Packing and Holding Activities
Chapter 7: Equipment, Tools, Buildings and Sanitation
Chapter 8: Records
Chapter 9: Variances
In the coming months, CDFA’s Produce Safety Program plans to provide additional information to assist California produce farms in understanding what is expected of them. The law is in effect now and official inspections will begin in 2019.
For updates on the implementation of the Produce Safety Rule in California please click here.