Produce has been linked to the largest number of foodborne illness outbreaks involving Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated foods. In fact, in 2009, produce was linked to 19,677,547 cases of foodborne illness and cost the United States an estimated $38.6 billion.
Section 105 of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) creates minimum science-based safety standards for produce. As required by FSMA, the FDA has proposed regulations for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce on farms. The proposed regulations address a wide range of issues including agricultural water; biological soil amendments of animal origin; domesticated and wild animals; personnel health and hygiene; equipment, tools, building, and sanitation; personnel training; and even a specific rules for sprouts.
An understanding of the proposed Produce Safety Standards is critical for state and local authorities because they create new requirements for regulated farm operations in their jurisdictions. In addition, the produce safety requirements will affect the duties of states that conduct contract inspections for the FDA.
The FSMA Section 105 Primer will help public health practitioners understand the issues surrounding the proposed produce regulations and the potential impacts of the safety standards.
NOTE: This primer reflects recent revisions to the FDA's proposed produce safety regulations.