US: Commodities primarily sourced domestically face lowest compliance costs for Produce Rule

The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 gave the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new and comprehensive authority to issue rules for the improvement of food safety, including the Produce Rule, which regulates fresh fruit and vegetables that are minimally processed and frequently consumed raw.

Using detailed data on the distribution of farm sizes, ERS researchers calculated the cost of compliance for the Produce Rule across commodities and regions. Among produce raised primarily domestically, celery, and broccoli face the lowest compliance costs, representing less than 0.5 percent of total sales revenue, while snap beans and pears face compliance costs nearing 3.0 percent.

Although compliance costs can be larger still for certain tropical and primarily imported fruit (bananas and avocados), this finding likely reflects the very small scale of production on U.S. farms from which data for these calculations are collected.

This chart appears in the August 2018 Amber Waves finding, “Food Safety Costs for Farms Vary Across Commodities Due to Differences in Farm Size.”

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