Speak Out Today!


2014_11 FSMA launch image for main page

 

NOTE: THE COMMENT PERIOD FOR FSMA HAS CLOSED AS OF DECEMBER 15, 2014. Stay tuned for more opportunities to take action!

 

The best way to fix FSMA and ensure safe food AND sustainable farms for our future is to COMMENT ON THE RULES.  This is how FDA is officially collecting input from farmers, processors, experts, and everyone who eats – anyone can and should comment!


How Do I Comment on the Rules?

You can comment on the FDA’s reproposed new rules either ONLINE or via the MAIL. Commenting on the rules is a little different than signing a petition – you need to actually type / paste / write comments and share them with FDA either through an online tool or by sending them in the mail. Our instructions below show you how – and give you a sample comment to use!

Step-by-Step Instructions for Commenting Online:

The best way to comment on the proposed rules is through the government website Regulations.gov. Here’s how:
1.    Do your homework! Check out our FSMA overview, issues page, and guidance on what to say. You don’t need to be an expert – but a little familiarity will help you tell your story.  Got questions? You can still comment! If the rules are unclear, FDA needs to know that too. Download our sample comments for FARMERS or for CONSUMERS to help you get started!

2.    Click on the appropriate commenting page in Regulations.gov either the Produce Rule or the Preventive Controls Rule. You can submit the same set of comments to each rule if your comments address both rules.

3.    Add your comments you can type or paste them into the box or upload a separate file using the “Upload File(s)” button. Whatever you do, prepare your thoughts ahead of time using a word processor like Word or good old-fashioned pen and paper! There is a 5000-character limit for the box – this is about one and a half pages of single-spaced typed text or around 700-750 words – if you attach a separate file it can be as long as you’d like. If you think you have more to say, you should UPLOAD a separate document with your longer comments instead and type “See attached file” in the box.

  • Download our sample comments for FARMERS or for CONSUMERS to help you get started!

4.    Enter your first and last name (or opt to remain anonymous) and select your interest group category - there are many options, including “Individual Consumer” and “Food Industry” (“Food Industry” is what you should choose if you are a farmer or food processor).

5.    Click the “Continue” link to preview your commentsNote: you cannot edit your comment once you submit it – but if you see a mistake, you can click the “Edit” button at the bottom to go back and make changes.

6.    Click “Submit Comment” to officially submit your comment to FDA.

7.    A screen will appear with a confirmation number for your comment. Copy this down – you can use it later to ensure your comment was received. Your comment may not appear on Regulations.gov right away!

  • Having trouble? Check out the official Regulations.gov help page or contact the Regulations.gov help desk – they have both email and phone options (Phone: 1-877-378-5457).
  • Make a mistake? To make changes, submit another comment referring to your previous comment, correcting any errors and/or re-stating your position or opinion.
  • Want to submit additional comments? You can submit more than one comment – simply follow this process again!
  • Remember to keep a separate copy of your comment just in case! This way if you have a problem submitting it or need to reference it later, you’ve got a copy.

To Comment By Mail:

FDA will accept comments by mail on the re-proposed rules. They must be postmarked by December 15! The mailing address is:

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

All submissions received must include the following:

  • Your Name
  • Your Organization (if any)
  • The appropriate docket number

If you want to comment on both rules, you can mail them together but must label your comments with BOTH of those docket numbers.

Note: FDA states that all comments received by mail may be posted without change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

FSMA commenting from Tilth Producers of Washington on Vimeo.

What Should I Say?

We’ve developed SAMPLE COMMENTS FOR FARMERS AND CONSUMERS to help you write your comments! Download samples for FARMERS or for CONSUMERS.

Here are some general guidelines to help your comment have its maximum impact:

  • Your story matters – be sure to share with FDA why this matters. Are you a farmer? Share how the rules might impact your farm. Are you a consumer? Make sure FDA knows the kind of food you like to buy from farmers and that you want to ensure these rules don’t unfairly burden those farmers.
  • Keep it polite and avoid profanity – remember that all comments will become part of the public record and will be read by FDA officials.
  • Make sure you have a clear “ask” for FDA – either about a specific issue or, broadly, about the importance of ensuring both safe food and thriving family farms.
  • Do not exactly copy someone else’s comment – for FDA to count your comment, it must be unique. You can make the same or similar points as another person, but you do need to add your own perspective as much as possible.

 

NOTE: THE COMMENT PERIOD FOR FSMA HAS CLOSED AS OF DECEMBER 15, 2014. Stay tuned for more opportunities to take action!

How Else Can I Help?

  • MAKE A COMMENT! – Be sure your voice is heard!
  • READ THE RULES  – They aren’t exactly beach vacation reading, but if you think you may be affected it is in your best interest to read and analyze them yourself! Farmers and processors who have a direct stake in these rules need to read them and start asking questions about what these rules might mean for their businesses.
  •  SPREAD THE WORD – It’s critical that farmers and processors know what’s going on and have a chance to weigh in.  Share this website with them – and encourage them to take action.
  • SHARE YOUR STORY – are the new food safety regulations likely to substantially impact your business? We want to hear your story! Share it with us here.