Jan. 26, 2018 – – Federal and state government agencies are working together to implement this new regulation (FSMA Produce Safety Rule) throughout the U.S. The FDA, in collaboration with State Departments of Agriculture, will provide oversight and verify compliance. California Department of Food Agriculture (CDFA) is launching the California Produce Safety Program, which will include educational information designed to assist California produce farms in understanding the requirements of the FDA’s Produce Safety Rule and how to comply with this new regulation.

Even though the compliance date for the Produce Safety Rule is today, January 26, 2018, for farms designated as “large” (those with annual sales greater than $500,000), CDFA will be devoting 2018 to education and inspections will begin in 2019.

CDFA has hired and is currently training produce safety inspectors and other staff members to carry out Produce Safety Rule education and on-farm inspections. Produce Safety Program inspectors employed by CDFA are required to be credentialed by FDA and will have specialized training and education to conduct authorized routine inspections on behalf of the FDA. Meanwhile, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will continue to serve in its role to ensure the safety of California’s food supply. If a CDFA Produce Safety Program inspector believes there is a significant and imminent threat to public health on a produce farm, they will inform CDPH of the situation for evaluation and potential regulatory action.

CDFA has been provided funding to subsidize Produce Safety Rule Grower Training workshops so they can be offered at a reduced rate. These courses are being offered in both English and Spanish in several locations throughout the state (see CDFA Training list). If your company falls under Produce Safety Rule, it is required that every produce farm employ an individual who has completed an approved Grower Training course. If you do not fall under this rule the course is still recommended.

In addition, as CDFA prepares for official Produce Safety Rule on-farm inspections, which will begin in 2019, CDFA will be offering a series of non-regulatory On-Farm Readiness Reviews (OFRR). These are designed to give produce farmers a better understanding of what they can expect from a routine Produce Safety Program inspection. Information on how to schedule an OFRR will be available very soon.