Tag Archives: FSMA

Small Farmers: Proposed Rules on Produce Bring Many Questions

MH900406529What does the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) mean for small farmers? How and when will these standards and practices be implemented? Most pressing to many small farmers is the big question of, “What is this going to cost me?”

In terms of produce, the answers to this last question come in the details.

A piece from the AP cites: “The FDA estimates the cost of implementing the rules will be about $4,700 a year for very small farms, $13,000 for small farms and $30,500 for large farms. Size is determined by a farm’s annual business.”  Yet, before panic gets a chance to set in for readers out there that are small farmers, factor in that: “Farms selling less than $25,000 of produce annually and those selling directly to the public without going through a third party would be exempt. FDA estimates about 79 percent of all U.S. produce farms won’t have to comply.”

Details about economic parameters, along with details in countless other areas, are plentiful when it comes to the FSMA. For small farmers it will be necessary to figure out where they fit in and what changes will be needed in their operation to comply with new standards of food safety in the United States.

Thankfully, the FDA provides various resources to help small farmers determine their applicable roles and responsibilities. One very basic resource to consult can be found here on a “What You Need to Know” page. For further information and to sign up for FSMA email updates click here.

Knowing a bit about the details can go a long way in keeping your operation working smoothly. It can also provide a place to begin taking on major change in the food industry, with a bit more confidence in tow.

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It’s a Matter for Discussion: Keeping Up with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

In early January, you may have heard, the FDA released two long documents concerning new proposed rules for the farm and for the food industry. The “Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food” and the “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption” equaled out to hundreds of pages of reading. These proposed new rules would affect a spectrum of businesses, large and small. As a stakeholder in the food industry, you may feel overwhelmed or concerned by such documents and developments. You are not alone.

Thankfully, piece by piece, it is manageable! First, keep in mind that these are proposed rules. The FDA is actively seeking out commentary and insight from industry interests. From policies on personal hygiene in the fields to risk-based preventative controls in food processing operations, there is a chance to get your voice involved in the process of formalizing these new standards. There is also opportunity to clarify and ask questions of the new rules.

Secondly, there are resources out there that can assist in familiarizing yourself with the sweeping changes that are being dealt with in this new FSMA era.  Below are two links that may assist in getting the big picture and possible areas of interest that you may want to check out in greater detail.   

If you would like to get a general overview of the document that helps break things down a bit, or would like to read the documents yourself, you can click here.

If you are interested in learning more about the Food Modernization Act, the FDA has produced a video primer. The approximately four-minute video can be found here.

Be sure to also be in touch with your FDA representative with any questions or concerns that may arise, as clarity will be key!

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