; Helping Growers Prepare for the FSMA Produce Safety Rule | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Helping Growers Prepare for the FSMA Produce Safety Rule

Meredith Melendez and Wesley Kline


The Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule (FSMA PSR) requires compliance by the largest fresh produce farming operations in January 2018. Smaller sized operations will need to come into compliance with the regulation in 2019 and 2020, depending on the total value of produce sold. Some farm operations meeting specific requirements are exempt from the regulation. This regulation is evolving and complex.

New Jersey growers are kept up-to-date on fresh produce safety topics by the Rutgers On Farm Food Safety Team. The team is comprised of two County Extension Agents who educate growers on compliance with the FSMA PSR, USDA Third Party Audits and Good Agricultural Practices. The team participated in the development of the Produce Safety Alliance FSMA PSR Grower Training curriculum and is recognized as "lead trainer" and "trainer of trainers" through the Alliance. The team is also involved with the development of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture "On Farm Readiness Review" curriculum. This curriculum was developed to assist FSMA PSR inspectors and Extension educators with readiness assessments prior to the official regulatory farm inspections.

Education on the FSMA PSR began in New Jersey during the 2014/2015 winter months through NE ERME funding. Extension educators nationally are facing questions from growers regarding the FSMA PSR. In order to answer these questions Extension educators must be familiar with the regulation, understand their states agreement for handling farm inspections, locate funds to support outreach efforts and keep up-to-date on the regulation as it continues to change.