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FDA to Issue Two Revised FSMA Rules Next Summer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will propose revised rule language and open another comment period on two of the proposed rules affecting farmers under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

FDA plans to issue revised language for the proposed rules on produce safety and preventive controls for human food by early next summer.

The changes will encompass water quality standards and testing, standards for using raw manure and compost, certain provisions affecting mixed-use facilities, and procedures used to withdraw the qualified exemption to these requirements for certain farms.

“We believe that this decision to change  these proposed rules — in response to the careful consideration of many people involved in supplying our food — is critical to fulfilling our commitment to getting them right,” Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, wrote on the agency’s blog. “As we consider the comments we’ve received, we may decide to include other changes for public comment.”

FDA will again seek comments, but only on the revised sections of the rules. After all, the agency is still under court ordered deadlines for finalizing the rules.

After participating in more than 150 meetings and traveling to numerous farms to seek input on the rules, Taylor said, “We have heard concerns that certain 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.”

“Thousands of sustainable and organic farmers and local food system entrepreneurs responded with deep concerns to the original proposed rules FDA issued to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA),” said National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Policy Director Ferd Hoefner. “We commend FDA for listening carefully to those concerns and coming to the proper conclusion that significant changes are needed … We look forward to working with FDA as they finish their review of the public comments and as they put together a second set of proposals on key issues for public comment.”

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who amended FSMA to protect small producers from onerous new regulations, also praised the announcement: “Small growers and producers selling straight to local consumers don’t require the same rules as large producers, and I’m glad the FDA is finally catching on. I look forward to making sure the new rules better protect the small producers who feed our families and deserve better than one-size-fits-all regulations.”

© Food Safety News
  • Michael Bulger

    Industry lobbying and alarmism weakens food safety?

  • TP

    Growing up in the 50’s, presented many changes for rural families.
    Back then you started out in 1st grade went through 12th with the same people.
    You also were aware of political/social/medical conditions of the community.
    As a scientist looking back brings out some points about government control.
    Talking to a rural doctor of ninety, about food safety.
    My question to him was”how much effect did food pathogens have on your practice.
    He had been ask that question before. over the span of his practice, he had two patience that he could identify as a direct link to contaminated food.
    Why so few i ask “Back then Mothers were in the majority of controlling the food and it’s safety”
    It was quite simple he said, “they cared”. 80% of all food was produced at home (meat, vegetables).
    All this means nothing on the grand scale of statistical probability except the words “they cared”.
    Point; it was not the government or the high sheriff that produced safe food for the family.
    No we will never go back “but the cure is not with the government”.

  • CA Leafy Greens LGMA

    California and Arizona leafy greens farmers strongly support federal food safety laws. Mandatory food safety programs – including government audits of leafy greens farms – have been ongoing since 2007. This means that 90 percent of leafy greens grown in the U.S. are already being produced under a system that meets or exceeds the current proposed law. The LGMA has submitted comments on FSMA and will be looking at new revisions to ensure our members are in full compliance.

    • farmber

      But the CA LGMA takes a horrible industrial ag sterilization approach to “food safety” with metrics that require farmers to take expensive actions to bulldoze peripheries, drain ponds, poison wildlife, etc — and remove conservation enhancements put in place by years of taxpayer funding to protect the environment.

      And yes, even under the touted LGMA metrics — contamination still regularly happens.

      The way forward is to create healthy living soil microbiota to biologically contain and destroy pathogens.

  • farmber

    Since The Nature Conservancy espouses the wide use of Roundup to control a wide list of “invasive species” on the lands they are “protecting” (flipping) — maybe they’re not the best source of accolades for practices that are “good for people and nature”….