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FSMA Final Rule On Produce Safety Is Released

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

By Rohan V. Tikekar, Ph.D

Lettuce growing in a field (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).

The final rule on fresh produce safety has been released by the US FDA on November 13, 2015. The new rule addresses requirements in five key areas pertaining to produce safety. These are agricultural water; biological soil amendments; sprouts, domesticated and wild animals; worker training and health and hygiene; and equipment, tools and building. The published rule includes several specific exemptions and the compliance dates vary based on the size of the businesses.


The rule will not apply if-

– The produce is now not a raw agriculture product

– Produce that are rarely consumed raw: asparagus; black beans, great Northern beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, and pinto beans; garden beets (roots and tops) and sugar beets; cashews; sour cherries; chickpeas; cocoa beans; coffee beans; collards; sweet corn; cranberries; dates; dill (seeds and weed); eggplants; figs; horseradish; hazelnuts; lentils; okra; peanuts; pecans; peppermint; potatoes; pumpkins; winter squash; sweet potatoes; and water chestnuts

– Grains such as barley, sorghum, rice, oats, rye, wheat

– The produce is grown for personal consumption or on-site consumption

– The average annual sale value of the farm in less than $25,000 in the last three years

– The produce receives a ‘kill step’, or processing that adequately reduces the load of microorganism of public health concern

In addition, there are certain qualified exemptions and modified requirements

Compliance dates

Four years for very small businesses: Annual sales >$25,000 but <$250,000

Three years for small businesses: Annual sales >$250,000 but <$500,000

Two years for all other farms

Certain aspects such as water quality standards, and related testing, and recordkeeping allow additional two years

In addition, there are certain modified requirements for compliance dates as well. For more information click on the link below:

The author, Rohan V. Tikekar, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition & Food Science at University of Maryland College Park and can be reached at his email address

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