FDA to begin Produce Farm Inspections-FSMA begins to be Implemented

My friend Joe sent this to me, and it is a pretty good article with a good deal of links that should be helpful to people as this goes into effect.

The article is linked in the headline, and there is just an excerpt for you below.

Yes, I scoff. The FDA, whose approved medications kill thousands of people every year is now going to make produce safe. Ugh. But, we’ll see how it pans out in the very near future.

 


The FSMA Produce Safety Rule: An Inspection Preview

March 5, 2019


USDA Agricultural Marketing Service staff performing a GAP audit; voluntary, third-party services that verify that farms are following food safety practices and recommendations from the FDA. Photo credit: Iowa Food Hub.

Food safety inspections on produce farms are beginning this month, but there are still questions as to what the first round of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule inspections will look like. The fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be regulating farms for the first time is concerning for many produce farmers who have never interacted with FDA before on a regular basis. Adding to the anxiety for some producers, is the fact that this will be the first time in history that they will have to deal with regular inspections on their farm.

In order to help producers prepare, FDA has provided a preview of what a produce farm inspection might look like. Using the information provided by FDA and our own additional resources, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) details in this post what produce farmers might expect from the upcoming inspections, and provides some best practice tips for getting through the process as painlessly as possible.

What Types of Inspections Might Occur?

There are several different types of inspections that might occur under the new FSMA regulations. Firstly, there will be a routine inspection for all farms covered under the Produce Safety Rule to ensure that they are in compliance. Routine inspections begin this year; in some states, inspections for larger farms will begin this month. For small farms (farms with a three year average of annual produce sales between $250,000-$500,000), routine inspections begin in Spring 2020.

There are also other reasons an FDA official or state regulator might show up on a farm. An unannounced inspection may be conducted if:

  1. There are “past issues” the farm has not corrected
  2. There is a need to follow-up on any corrections recommended during a routine inspection
  3. If a farm fails to respond to an inspector’s call to schedule a routine inspection within five business days
  4. If there is a complaint, recall, or foodborne outbreak investigation linked to a farm

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