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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Story By:

Christofer Oberst
Reporter at
2020 L St. Suite 320
Sacramento, CA

SILVER SPRING, MD - In response to the number of comments received from produce farmers and others in the agricultural sector, the FDA has proposed that it will be revising the food safety rules it proposed earlier this year. 

The FDA will be seeking further comments on the revised proposed rule language by early summer 2014.

Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, said that the agency believes that
“significant changes will be needed in key provisions of the two proposed rules affecting small and large farmers.”

These provisions include 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, according to a press release. “We have heard the concern that these provisions, as proposed, would not fully achieve our goal of implementing the law in a way that improves public health protections while minimizing undue burden on farmers and other food producers,” says Taylor.

Ray Gilmer, Vice President, Issues Management & Communication at United Fresh, tells AndNowUKnow, “We applaud the FDA for announcing they will issue a second round of proposed rules on FSMA. Given the scope and tremendous diversity of the produce industry, it just makes sense to issue another set of draft rules for review. We look forward to working with FDA to refine the proposed rules and make them the most effective and workable they can be.”

Produce Marketing Association member Dr. Bob Whitaker tells AndNowUKnow, “We think it’s commendable that the FDA has listened to our concerns and we appreciate the interactions they had with the industry. Both the industry and the FDA did the right thing. We look forward to see the revised rules.”

The initial concern with the FSMA is that the FDA had taken a “One-Size-Fits-All” approach, which applies the same standards to all produce commodities, regardless of substantive differences in risks.

 Despite identifying broad health and safety measures, the FDA has not taken into account the different risks and appropriate standards and practices across all fruits and vegetables.

Now, the goal is to make the revised rules as flexible as possible so that it can meet the various types of operations in this complex industry.

Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow for more news on the Food Safety Modernization Safety Act.

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