Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Is Your Produce Farm Ready for the Food Safety Modernization Act? UDAF Can Help You Know

July 25, 2018--Recently UDAF inspectors spent two days preparing for implementation of the produce safety rule of the Food safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

This training, one of many UDAF inspectors have taken and will take as FSMA implementation ramps up, revolved around on-farm readiness reviews.

“An On Farm Readiness Review is an educational opportunity intended to walk producers through what an actual inspection on their farm may look like, before a real inspection is conducted,” said David Basinger, UDAF State Organic Program manager and FSMA on-farm readiness review coordinator.

“This review will allow you to walk through your operation, step-by-step, and see what you’re doing right, what you need to improve and problem-solve with trained professionals about how to inexpensively change if necessary to meet the new food safety requirements. This is a confidential service, so what happens on the farm stays on the farm. Best of all, it is no cost to growers.”

During the training, inspectors went through the several topic areas that will be covered in the readiness review as well as later in actual inspections. Those topic areas include:

  • Worker health, hygiene and safety;
  • Wildlife and domestic animals exclusion from produce growing areas;
  • Manure handling and application;
  • Water testing and safety
  • Pre and post-harvest sanitation
  • Post-harvest produce handling

Produce growers who will be covered by the Produce Safety Rule of FSMA are required to take a grower training course offered by the Produce Safety Alliance. This training will cover much of the same subject matter inspectors learn in on farm readiness review training. While having UDAF out to your farm for a readiness review is optional, it can be an important step for farms as they prepare for required periodic inspections.  If you are interested in attending an upcoming Produce Grower Training, please contact Jay Schvaneveldt.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 801-538-7149.

The FSMA Produce Safety Rule primarily targets medium size and larger produce farms.  Many small and very small farms will be exempted from the regulations or fall into a category called qualified exempt. UDAF is currently working on a website that will allow farmers to determine whether they are covered by the rule, exempt or qualified exempt.  The UDAF website exemption tool will be user friendly and simple. In the meantime, FDA has a publication you can use to better understand who is covered and who is exempt. https://www.fda.gov/downloads/food/guidanceregulation/ucm345226.pdf

As part of the readiness review training, UDAF inspectors got to conduct a couple of mock readiness review visits. UDAF’s Jack Wilbur volunteered to let the class come onto one of his family’s farm properties and practice the review. In a future blog post, Wilbur will provide his insight and opinions about the new legislation and the on farm readiness review.