FDA Intends to Extend Compliance Dates for Agricultural Water Standards!!
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety rule establishes, for the first time, science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. Agricultural water can be a major conduit of pathogens that can contaminate produce. That is why FSMA’s produce safety rule sets microbial quality standards for agricultural water, including irrigation water that comes into contact with produce.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety final rule establishes two sets of criteria for microbial water quality, both of which are based on the presence of generic E. coli, which can indicate the presence of fecal contamination. If the water does not meet these criteria, corrective actions are required as soon as is practicable, but no later than the following year. Farmers with agricultural water that does not initially meet the microbial criteria have additional flexibility by which they can meet the criteria and then be able to use the water on their crops.
However, the feedback that the FDA has received is that some of these standards, which include numerical criteria for pre-harvest microbial water quality, may be too complex to understand, translate, and implement. These factors can be important to achieving high rates of compliance. In response to these concerns; the FDA is considering how it might simplify the water standards. FDA intends to work with stakeholders as these efforts related to the water standards proceed.
FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 4, 2011, enables FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. It enables FDA to focus more on preventing food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to problems after they occur. The FSMA Final Rule on Produce Safety is a key element of this preventive approach.
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