Stuart Reitz, director of the OSU Experiment Station in Ontario, OR, sent us an announcement of FSMA updates and training events coming up.
Stuart told us, “Produce Safety Rule Guidance: The FDA recently released its draft guidance on the Produce Safety Rule. The guidance covers most parts of the Produce Safety Rule. Each chapter of the guidance includes a ‘key point’ section of highlights as well as a thorough explanation of FDA’s thinking regarding what the rule means and how to comply with it. The guidance does not cover the water standards. Because this is a draft, FDA is accepting comments before it releases a final version of the guidance. Please take some time to review and let the FDA know what you think.”
You can read the guidance and make comments until April 22 through this link: https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/ucm606284.htm
In his newsletter, Stuart reported that the FSMA water testing rules “are still on hold,” while other provisions in the Produce Safety Rule are going into effect.
“The Rule establishes science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. The first compliance dates for the Produce Safety Rule requirements began in January 2018 for farms that produce Raw Agricultural Commodities (e.g., onions) and have more $500,000 in annual produce sales.”
To determine if your farm is covered by the Produce Safety Rule and your target compliance dates, complete the self-guided decision tool provided by ODA https://oda.fyi/FSMADecisionTree or the one from the University of Idaho at https://uidaho.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8D1ucSlEeq749AF.
Stuart said for farms covered by the Produce Safety Rule, inspections will begin during the 2019 growing season. These regulatory inspections are NOT the same as GAP audits. One requirement of the Produce Safety Rule is that at least one person from each covered farm must complete FDA-approved training. The Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Curriculum currently is the only FDA-approved program.
These are national standards, so training can be done in either Oregon or Idaho or anywhere else.
ISDA is offering two classes this fall:
Caldwell Nov. 19, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Payette Dec. 7, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You can register online at http://www.idahoproducesafety.eventbrite.com/
Impact Washington is hosting a training session on Nov. 13, 8-5 in Kennewick, WA. This is the day before the PNVA conference. You can register at
ODA will be hosting training as well. As soon as those dates are announced, we will pass them on to you.
Stuart said, “FDA will host a workshop on the guidance on Nov. 27 in Portland, OR. On-Farm Readiness Reviews: Oregon and Idaho are offering On-Farm Readiness Reviews. These reviews have been developed by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). They are educational and are intended to identify strengths and weaknesses of participating farms relative to the requirements of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. We conducted several reviews near the end of this going season and will offer more in 2019.”
If you are interested in having a review of your farm, please fill out this form for OREGON: https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/shared/Documents/Publications/MarketAccess/OFRRInfoSignUp.pdf.
He also noted, “The regulatory inspections for the FSMA Produce Safety Rule will begin in 2019. FDA is still working on the inspection process, so we do not know how they will go. Because these will be regulatory, they will be different from your GAP audits. However, FDA has said that their initial emphasis will be on education before regulation. At present, FDA will conduct inspections in Oregon, and ISDA will conduct inspections in Idaho.”