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FDA Announces that it will Revise Produce Safety and Preventive Controls for Human Food in Response to Farmers’ Significant Comments

Posted in Agricultural Law, Agriculture Law, Food Safety, Food Safety Modernization Act, Water Quality

The comment period on the proposed FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules on produce safety and preventive controls for human food, originally published in January 2013, was recently closed after being extended several times due to the volume of comments that they received. The rules consist of new far reaching controls imposed on producers including farmers that are unprecedented, including proposed controls on fertilizers and water quality. Farmers were particularly concerned about the attempt to apply a broad rule to a large segment of the industry.  Many sectors of the community including for instance certain types of nut growers, believe that given the nature of their product and/or their existing processes they should be exempted from the additional regulation.  The FDA which is on a court ordered schedule to promulgate these rules in final, on December 19, 2013, announced that it will revise certain key FSMA proposed rules affecting small and large farmers including  ”water quality standards and testing, standards for using raw manure and compost, certain provisions affecting mixed-use facilities, and procedures for withdrawing the qualified exemption for certain farms.” The FDA plans to revise the rules, seek additional comment to allow the public to comment on the revised rules. The plan is to have the revised rules out by the Summer of 2014 and only take comments on those sections that are revised.