An announcement issued March 15 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration set forth new compliance dates for the ag water requirements in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.
In this new ruling, larger farms “are now required to comply with the agricultural water requirements by Jan. 26, 2022, while small farms have until Jan. 26, 2023, and very small farms until Jan. 26, 2024.”
It was noted that the new rule “does not change the compliance dates for sprout operations.”
The FDA explained that compliance dates have been extended while the agency “considers how best to protect public health while addressing widespread concerns about the complexity of the agricultural water requirements and the practicality of implementing them across a wide variety of farms, water sources and uses.” The formal release said, “The FDA intends to use this time to work with stakeholders to address these concerns.”
And it was noted, importantly, that while the rule “extends the compliance dates for the agricultural water provisions, produce remains subject to the other provisions of the Produce Safety Rule and the adulteration provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).”
The release went on to say, “Recent outbreaks potentially linked to agricultural water have highlighted just how diverse agricultural production is and have stressed the importance of ensuring that these standards are workable across the diversity of farms, water sources and uses. FDA remains firmly committed to incorporating lessons learned from these recent outbreaks, and to using the best science available to help minimize the risk that produce can become contaminated… Farms are responsible for ensuring that the food they produce is not adulterated under the FD&C Act.”