NSAC's Blog

Do FDA’s New Food Safety Rules Apply to Your Farm or Food Business?

February 22, 2016

FSMA Flowchart 2016 graphic

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently finalized two new food safety rules, the Preventive Controls Rule and the Produce Safety Rule, under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). These rules establish new requirements for farms and food businesses, with different levels of compliance based on operation type and size. In order to help farmers and food businesses navigate the new federal food safety requirements, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released an updated version of our “Am I Affected?” FSMA flowchart.

Originally created during the FSMA proposed rulemaking stage, the flowchart has now been modified to reflect the final versions of the rule governing produce farms (the Produce Rule) and the rule governing food-processing facilities (the Preventive Controls Rule).

What is FSMA?

The Food Safety Modernization Act (or “FSMA”), passed by Congress in 2010 and signed into law by President Obama in 2011, significantly restructured our nation’s food safety laws. FSMA authorized the FDA to develop new requirements for food producers, suppliers, and manufacturers across the supply chain, including, for the first time, produce farms.

Everyone has a role to play in food safety–from farmer to consumer. While some farms and local food businesses may not be subject to the new requirements, it is still important for everyone to know what the rules entail and how they might impact you now or in the future. Some buyers, for example, may require that producers obtain food safety certification before purchase, whether or not the producer is covered by FDA’s new rules.

We at NSAC encourage all farms and food enterprises to check out the updated information and consider how the new rules might be relevant to their operation.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

  1. These rules are complex! Our flowchart isn’t intended to provide you with all the information you need to comply with the rules, rather, it is intended to help you: determine whether and to what extent your farm or food business might be impacted by the FSMA rules; figure out what questions you need to be asking; and provide suggestions on where to go for more information.
  2. Most farms have at least two years (until January 2018) to come into compliance with the Produce Rule. Many smaller farms will have three or four years (January 2019 and 2020), and most small processors will have two to three years to come into compliance with the Preventive Controls Rule (September 2017 or 2018). This means that now is the perfect time to learn more, ask questions, and think about any upcoming next steps or changes for your farm and/or food business.

Additional Resources

Produce Rule:

Preventive Controls Rule:

Download a PDF of the flowchart here

Categories: Food Safety, General Interest

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