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Conference Name On-Farm Readiness Reviews, Education Before Regulation

Meredith Melendez, Wesley Kline, Elizabeth Bihn, Travis Chapin, Michelle Danyluk, Phillip Tocco, and Chris Gunter


The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Rule (PSR) went into effect on January 26, 2018 for the largest fresh produce growing operations. The regulation will impact most fresh produce growers in the United States by 2020. The FDA has agreed to “Educate Before You Regulate” implementing the On-Farm Readiness Review program, developed by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and an Extension development team. The 2018 growing season focused on educational visits to farms by trained State Partners, FDA officials and Extension personnel. Regulatory inspections will begin in 2019.

To prepare for the On-Farm Readiness Reviews 14 training workshops have been conducted nationwide, with 10 more scheduled by the end of the 2019 growing season. These On-Farm Readiness Review trainings began in January of 2018 to train the FDA, the State regulators, and Extension personnel on how to conduct an On-Farm Readiness Review. The trainings are led by the On-Farm Readiness Review Extension Development team consisting of seven Extension educators representing five Land Grant Universities.

Once trained FDA inspectors, State regulators and Extension personnel utilize the On-Farm Readiness Review resources at farms who voluntarily sign-up for the On-Farm Readiness Review. Resources used include an exemption questionnaire to determine if any or all parts of the operation could be excluded from the Produce Safety Rule, a Produce Safety Rule decision tree to determine the sections of the tool that pertain to the operation, FSMA factsheets, and the On-Farm Readiness Review resource manual.

Data is being collected to evaluate the On-Farm Readiness Review training workshops and actual On-Farm Readiness Reviews conducted by trainees in their home states. As of December 1, 2018, On-Farm Readiness Reviews have taken place on 361 farms in 30 states. Over 300 trainees have completed the On-Farm Readiness Review training and are qualified to conduct OFRRs in their home state. National survey results have allowed the development team to better understand the needs of farmers to come into compliance with the FSMA produce safety rule and will help guide produce safety educators on priorities for educating growers during the off season.

Melendez, M. V., Agricultural Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Trenton, NJ 08648
Kline, W.L., Agricultural Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Millville, NJ 08332
Chapin, T., Biological Scientist, University of Florida, Lake Alfred, FL 33850
Danyluk, M., Associate Professor, University of Florida, Lake Alfred, FL 33850
Gunter, C., Associate Professor, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695
Tocco, P., Extension Educator, Michigan State University, Jackson, MI 49202