FSMA Produce Safety Rule Inspections To Start Early 2020

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The FDA announced today that routine FSMA inspections of small farms (other than sprout farms) are slated to commence in Spring of 2020, but if states (like Vermont) that receive funding as part of the State Produce Implementation Cooperative Agreement Program want to start inspections as early as January 1, they are permitted to do so. Small farms are those with an annual revenue of $250K-500K. Very small farms are those with an annual revenue between $25K and $250K and those very small farm inspections will commence in 2021. Farms with an annual revenue that is less than $25K (based on a rolling average of three years’ sales revenues) are exempted from the Rule.

The Produce Safety Rule, which went into effect on January 26, 2016, sets minimum food safety standards for the growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption.

More information about the Produce Safety Rule and this announcement may be found here and through the links provided on that page. A guidance document on the Produce Safety Rule itself and the key requirements of the Rule is here.

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets provides its information about Produce Inspections here. Note that in Vermont, Produce Safety Rule inspections currently exclude the Subpart E requirements involving agricultural water, which is delayed until 2022 for large farms, 2023 for small farms and 2024 for very small farms. The Vermont page also provides links to helpful documents, including “What to Expect During a Produce Safety Rule Inspection.”