The proposed FSMA rule was described as a “game changer for the safety of fresh produce” at the recent Food Safety Summit in Chicago by Frank Yiannas (Deputy Commissioner, Food Policy and Response, U.S. FDA). This rule would change the pre-harvest agricultural water requirements for covered produce (other than sprouts). The requirements in this proposed rule, if finalized, would replace the pre-harvest microbial quality criteria and testing requirements in the Produce Safety Rule with requirements for systems-based pre-harvest agricultural water assessments. These assessments would be used to identify conditions that are reasonably likely to introduce known or reasonably foreseeable hazards into or onto produce or food contact surfaces, and to determine whether corrective or mitigation measures are needed to minimize the risks associated with pre-harvest agricultural water.
Covered produce has a specific definition in the Produce Safety Rule; generally, produce that is normally consumed raw and is a raw agricultural commodity (e.g., strawberries, apples, carrots, celery, and leafy greens).
Due to be in law before end of 2022.
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