Food Safety Regulations for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Federal, Nationwide Food Safety Regulations
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)- signed into LAW January 4, 2011
- The food safety modernization act aims to shift US food safety from responding to outbreaks to preventing contamination.
- Mandatory produce safety standards: FDA must establish science-based, minimum standards* for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. Those standards must consider naturally occurring hazards, as well as those that may be introduced either unintentionally or intentionally, and must address soil amendments (materials added to the soil such as compost), hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animals in the growing area and water. (DRAFT STANDARDS RELEASED JANUARY 4, 2013)
The proposed rulemaking shall--
(A) provide sufficient flexibility to be applicable to various types of entities engaged in the production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables that are raw agricultural commodities, including small businesses and entities that sell directly to consumers, and be appropriate to the scale and diversity of the production and harvesting of such commodities;
(B) include, with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting, packing, and storage operations, science-based minimum standards related to soil amendments, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animals in the growing area, and water;
(C) consider hazards that occur naturally, may be unintentionally introduced, or may be intentionally introduced, including by acts of terrorism;
(D) take into consideration, consistent with ensuring enforceable public health protection, conservation and environmental practice standards and policies established by Federal natural resource conservation, wildlife conservation, and environmental agencies;
(E) in the case of production that is certified organic, not include any requirements that conflict with or duplicate the requirements of the national organic program established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, while providing the same level of public health protection as the requirements under guidance documents, including guidance documents regarding action levels, and regulations under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act; and
(F) define, for purposes of this section, the terms `small business' and `very small business'.
(4) Prioritization.--The Secretary shall prioritize the implementation of the regulations under this section for specific fruits and vegetables that are raw agricultural commodities based on known risks which may include a history and severity of foodborne illness outbreaks.
(f) Exemption for Direct Farm Marketing.-- (exemption may be withdrawn at any time)
In general.--A farm shall be exempt from the requirements under this section in a calendar year if--
(A) during the previous 3-year period, the average annual monetary value of the food sold by such farm directly to qualified end-users during that period exceeded the average annual monetary value of the food sold by such farm to all other buyers during such period; and
(B) the average annual monetary value of all food sold during such period was less than $500,000, adjusted for inflation.
NOTE: A "qualified end user" is either the consumer of the food or a restaurant or retail food establishment that is located within the state or within 275 miles of the farm.
LABELING regardless of exemption...
A farm that is exempt from the requirements under this section shall--
High Risk Foods: (i) with respect to a food for which a food packaging label is required by the Secretary under any other provision of this Act, include prominently and conspicuously on such label the name and business address of the farm where the produce was grown; or
Not deemed High Risk Food: (ii) with respect to a food for which a food packaging label is not required by the Secretary under any other provision of this Act, prominently and conspicuously display, at the point of purchase, the name and business address of the farm where the produce was grown, on a label, poster, sign, placard, or documents delivered contemporaneously with the food in the normal course of business, or, in the case of Internet sales, in an electronic notice.
* The FDA released the draft mandatory food safety standards for fresh fruits and vegetables to meet the mandate of sec.105 (above) on JANUARY 4, 2013.