In November 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the Final Rule for Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption, otherwise known as the Produce Safety Rule, required by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This rule establishes science-based standards for the production and harvesting of certain produce, including sprouts. In October 2018, the FDA published a draft compliance and implementation guidance to help covered farms comply with the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule. The draft guidance provides a broad range of recommendations on how to meet the requirements for most subparts of the rule. It also outlines how to determine whether produce or farms may be eligible for exemptions from certain requirements, or from the rule in its entirety.
Regulation and policy interpretation questions related to the Produce Safety Rule should continue to be submitted to the FDA FSMA Technical Assistance Network (TAN). In addition, the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) has also developed their own Technical Assistance Network. In the past, the FSPCA TAN has supported inquiries related to the FSMA Preventive Controls Rules, the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP), sprout safety, and other FSMA programs and activities. The FSCPA TAN is also now open to receive technical questions related to Produce Safety Rule and related guidance. Questions can be submitted by visiting the produce section of the FSCPA TAN webpage. The inquiries submitted to the FSPCA TAN are referred to extension staff for a response.