Since the release of the FSMA Produce Rule in 2016, farmers and growers have been doing their best to meet regulations and navigate the rule’s requirements.
As shown in the results of a recently released survey conducted by the USDA, the country is not yet in full compliance with FSMA in every state. The 84-page survey was released in August 2018 and looks into grower food safety practices and costs. The survey reflected on the trials of FSMA and found that small farms had to put in more effort than large farms to come into compliance.
Luckily for those still struggling, the USDA is confirming new agreements with a majority of the states in the U.S. The agreements are designed to provide support as states attempt to meet the specifications of the FSMA PR Rule. The USDA is making new agreements with Hawaii, Kentucky, and Mississippi, and is renewing agreements with 43 other states.3
“Preventing contamination of produce consumed by Americans every day is a key part of the FDA’s mission to protect and promote the public health. To support our partners in this important work, the FDA is providing the funding to help states implement produce safety standards in their farming communities.”
Scott Gottlieb, M.D. FDA Commissioner3
The support being offered is not merely monetary, but also extends to include training, guidance on the rule, and looking at the rule’s requirements in collaboration with other states. Other additional outreach covers forms of education that will help those engaged in the agreements such as; educational needs evaluations, produce safety grower training deliveries, and on-farm readiness reviews (OFRRs).
Including such education, training, and outreach is regarded as an essential part of these agreements’ implementation, and the agreements themselves are crucial to ensure successful FSMA compliance and effective food safety programs nationwide. This is the third year in a row that the USDA is enacting such agreements, with the current total of 46 participants higher than ever seen in previous years. The FDA announced $32.5 million dollars as the budget to fund the agreements.
If your farm is covered under the FSMA produce rule, CompWALK.farm may be a resource to better educate and manage FSMA produce rule requirements and documentation. CompWALK.farm is an online solution that outlines the FSMA produce rule in simplified language, providing templates for documentation required and an online repository to store all farm compliance files. Learn more and get started today!