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FDA delays compliance date for FSMA ag water standardsFDA delays compliance date for FSMA ag water standards

FDA intends to use the extended time period to work with stakeholders as it considers the best approach to address their concerns.

Jacqui Fatka

June 7, 2017

2 Min Read
FDA delays compliance date for FSMA ag water standards

Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it was exploring ways to simplify the agricultural water standards established by the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) produce safety rule (PSR) after receiving feedback from stakeholders that some of the requirements are too complex to understand and implement.

FDA announced Tuesday its intention to extend the compliance dates for agricultural water requirements in the PSR (other than for sprouts). The FDA intends to extend the compliance dates using appropriate procedures at a later time and the length of the extension is under consideration.  

The FDA intends to use the extended time period to work with stakeholders as it considers the best approach to address their concerns while still protecting public health. The extended compliance dates will also give farms an opportunity to continue to review their practices, processes and procedures related to agricultural water and how it is used on their farms.  

Agricultural water can be a major conduit of pathogens that can contaminate produce, which is why FSMA’s produce safety rule sets microbial quality standards for agricultural water, including irrigation water that comes into contact with produce. FDA remains committed to protecting public health while implementing rules that are workable across the diversity of the food industry.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R., Texas) welcomed the delay. ““Producers need additional time to come into compliance with FSMA’s produce safety rules, and I commend the FDA for providing this needed flexibility. I’ve heard from many farmers concerned with the rules and struggling to figure out how and when they have to comply with FSMA rules and regulations. This extension provides producers the time necessary to come into compliance while still protecting public health.”

Conaway expressed appreciation to the Trump administration’s commitment to taking a hard look at controversial rules like this one. “I hope that upon further review of the unintended consequences of these costly rules and continued communications with the farmers and ranchers affected by them, FDA can work with stakeholders to swiftly address their concerns,”  he added.

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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