Deadline extended to comment on Food Safety Modernization Act’s produce safety rule

The deadline for comment on the Food Safety Modernization Act proposed produce safety rule has been extended another 120 days (until Sept. 16). Here is information on how to comment.

As many are now aware, the FDA released the proposed produce safety rule this January 2013. In it are sweeping and specific guidelines for growing fresh produce that are meant to make the safest produce supply in the world even safer. The rule covers practices regarding manure, water sources and uses with regards to farming, employee hygiene and training, and equipment sanitation. Some parts of the rule are very similar to past guidelines regarding food safety, some are not. (For more information on the importance of food safety, see the Michigan State University Extension article “Food safety in growing fresh produce is not optional.”)

In response to numerous public requests, the public comment period on the rule has been extended until Sept. 16. Many people who may not have had the opportunity to comment will now have more chances. The comment period extension, however, is not valuable if the public does not take advantage of it.

You can submit comments online. Comments can also be written and faxed to the FDA at 301-827-6870 or mailed to:

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

As of May 20, these rules are proposed and not final. The final rule regarding fresh produce may vary, so it is important to stay aware of what is finally decided. It is also important that the FDA hears from you about possible costs associated with compliance or potential impacts to production. Go online to read more about the rule or if you would like to comment on the proposed rule.

If you have specific questions about the produce rule or have difficulty tailoring GAPs to your farm, contact the Agrifood Safety Work Group at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 517-788-4292.

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