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FDA proposes changes to Food Safety Modernization Act Rule to enhance safety of agricultural water used on produce

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a proposed rule that aims to enhance the safety of produce. It proposes to require farms to conduct comprehensive assessments that would help them identify and mitigate hazards in water used to grow produce. This is the latest step in the agency’s implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and it proposes to replace some of the existing requirements for agricultural water in the Produce Safety Rule (PSR).

“There have been far too many foodborne illness outbreaks possibly linked to pre-harvest agricultural water in recent years, including water coming from lands nearby produce farms. As a federal government agency charged with protecting public health, the FDA is committed to implementing effective, modern, science-based measures designed to prevent these outbreaks from occurring in the future,” said Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response.

“The proposed rule is the latest action taken by the FDA to continue working towards implementation of key provisions of FSMA. If finalized, we’re confident this proposal would result in fewer outbreaks in the U.S. related to produce, protecting public health and saving lives. This proposed rule is a monumental step towards further improving the safety of the fruits and vegetables Americans serve their families every day, and the FDA looks forward to engaging with stakeholders on the proposed changes.”

The proposed rule, if finalized, would change certain pre-harvest agricultural water requirements for produce and farms subject to the PSR, other than sprouts operations.

The FDA intends to continue working closely with stakeholders and state and tribal partners to provide necessary training, technical assistance, education, and outreach. The agency will hold two virtual public meetings to discuss the proposal and hear feedback, and more details will be announced in a forthcoming Federal Register notice. In addition, the agency is also developing an online tool to assist growers in understanding agricultural water assessments.

Click here to read the full press release.

For more information:
Veronika Pfaeffle
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Tel: +1 301-310-2576
Email: veronika.pfaeffle@fda.hhs.gov


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