The Food and Drug Administration plans to extend the compliance deadline for pre-harvest water testing requirements for produce other than sprouts, the agency said in a proposal that also extends the comment period on proposed changes to those requirements.
In December, FDA said it was proposing that produce growers use a “systems approach” to testing the water used to grow their crops; it also dropped a microbial testing requirement that was a key part of a 2015 proposal to implement the ag water testing requirements in the Food Safety Modernization Act.
In its latest proposal, made public Monday, FDA said it was extending the comment period until Sept. 19 on the new deadlines.
Previously, the agency had set compliance deadlines for covered produce other than sprouts of Jan. 26, 2024, for very small operations; Jan. 26, 2023, for small farms; and this past Jan. 26 for large operations.
The new deadlines would be two years and nine months after the effective date of a final rule for very small businesses; one year and nine months for small businesses; and nine months after the effective date of a final rule for all other businesses.
Don’t miss a beat! It’s easy to sign up for a FREE month of Agri-Pulse news! For the latest on what’s happening in Washington, D.C. and around the country in agriculture, just click here.
FDA also said it would continue to provide “enforcement discretion” for the harvest and post-harvest ag water provisions for covered produce other than sprouts until Jan. 26, 2025, for very small farms; Jan. 26, 2024, for small operations; and Jan. 26, 2023, for all other farms.
The December proposed rule “did not propose substantive changes to the harvest and post-harvest agricultural water requirements in the Produce Safety Rule; however, the FDA recognizes that prior to the proposal, stakeholders did not have clarity on whether FDA might propose to change the harvest and post-harvest agricultural water requirements,” FDA said in its announcement.
“In addition, the FDA recognizes that adequate training and technical assistance are needed to fully recognize the benefits of the harvest and post-harvest requirement,” explaining why it would continue to provide discretion on enforcement.
For more news, go to www.Agri-Pulse.com