State Ag Officials Applaud FDA for Extending FSMA Farm Inspection & Water Quality Timeline

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At the Annual Meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) in New Orleans Tuesday, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., highlighted the forthcoming compliance hurdles facing the food industry in 2018. The decision to emphasize education during the first year of implementation of the Produce Safety Rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will give FDA more time to develop guidance and to complete development of regulator training programs for implementing the rule. 

Dr. Michael G. Strain, NASDA President and Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture & Forestry, underscored the significance of this critical step to help producers comply with the rules of FSMA prior to regulation.              

“We are pleased that states will have more time to deploy educational tools for our producers based on that guidance and to implement the On-Farm Readiness Review Process, which is consistent with the FDA decision to emphasize education. FDA is showing support of an important transition from the reactive programs that have existed in the past to the preventive programs of the future,” said Commissioner Strain.  

Commissioner Gottlieb also announced additional time and enhanced stakeholder engagement to address the concerns of NASDA on agricultural water standards and testing methods.  

“Extending these compliance dates by an additional two to four years and reviewing testing methods will provide producers with more practical and achievable water quality expectations across our diverse food production landscape. Commissioner Gottlieb’s announcement underscores the growing strength of our cooperative partnership with the FDA. This is an important first step towards feasible water standards for America’s producers.” 

NASDA and FDA entered into a cooperative agreement in 2014. As a part of the effort NASDA has developed a Model Produce Safety Implementation Framework for states to use as they implement the Produce Safety Rule. Forty-three states are cooperating with FDA to implement the Produce Safety Rule; the FDA has committed $30.9M for these state programs. The On-Farm Readiness Review program is being developed by NASDA in conjunction with the FDA and extension services. It is a voluntary, non-regulatory opportunity to assess a farm’s readiness for FSMA compliance