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Food Safety Modernization Act

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the first major update of federal food safety laws since 1938. FSMA authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create farm-level regulations specifically requiring new food safety standards for produce production and measures for facilities that process food for human consumption. These new regulations will have a large impact on our food system and therefore it is extremely important for FDA to establish rules that improve food safety while supporting organic producers and on-farm conservation practices.

On-Farm Food Safety Rules: Your Comments Needed!
 
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the first major update of federal food safety laws since 1938. FSMA authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create farm-level regulations specifically requiring new food safety standards for produce production and measures for facilities that process food for human consumption. These new regulations will have a large impact on our food system and therefore it is extremely important for FDA to establish rules that improve food safety while supporting organic producers and on-farm conservation practices. 

Download Oregon Tilth's Public Comments on FSMA - Nov. 14, 2013 (pdf)

The regulations include key provisions to ensure they are scale-appropriate, conservation-friendly, and accessible to certified organic producers and value-added producers.  However, there are some instances where these objectives are clearly not met.  For example, draft rules severely limit the use of manure and compost to increase soil fertility. FDA has proposed to require a nine-month interval between applications of un-composted manure and harvest if there is a chance that the amendment will come into contact with produce after application. This nine-month interval is in direct conflict with the National Organic Program regulations which require a four-month application interval for untreated manure if the edible portion of the crop comes into contact with the soil. Manure and compost are critical soil amendments in certified organic production and it is important that new standards work for these systems.
 
FDA has proposed draft rules based on the FSMA and is seeking public comment before the rules are finalized. To ensure the final rules foster good food safety practices while considering conservation practices and organic producers, it is critical that farmers, processors and consumers comment on the draft rules.  The comment period deadline is November 15, 2013.

For more information visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s FSMA page which includes:

  • A general overview and background information
  • Specific information about how producers and processors are impacted
  • Descriptions of the important issues including the impact of FSMA on the use of compost and manure in organic systems, on-farm conservation practices and wildlife, use of water, and the potential classification of farms as “facilities” and subsequent requirements
  • Step-by-step instructions for commenting and support in drafting comments.  

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition recently held a webinar which covers FSMA, potential impacts and how to comment on the rule. Watch the recorded webinar here.

Also visit the Organic Trade Association’s FSMA page which includes:

  • Summary and talking points about the proposed rules
  • Presentations about OTA’s comments on the rules
  • Additional information about important issues for organic producers including the rules around the use of manure and compost

 

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