WASHINGTON, April 8, 2015 – The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to exempt some small farms that sell directly to consumers from new food safety rules.

A proposed rule released by the agency would extend an exemption for retail food establishments to farms that sell products through roadside stands, farmers markets and directly to subscribers through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.

The exemption applies to food-facility registration requirements under current law as well as proposed regulations for preventive controls under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).


FDA estimates that there are about 71,000 farms nationwide that only sell food products directly to consumers via farmers markets, roadside stands and CSA programs. Some of those farms are currently required to register as food facilities, which also would subject them to the FSMA regulations, but the agency said it didn’t know how many.

The proposed rule “is critical to understanding and avoiding FSMA’s adverse impacts on the growing local and regional food sector,” said Sophia Kruszewski, a policy specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. 

The proposal also adds new registration requirements for non-exempt food facilities. For example, all registrations must provide an assurance that FDA will be permitted to inspect the facility. Registrations also would be required to list the types of activity that the facility conducts in each product category.

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The additional requirements are expected to result in total one-time costs for domestic and foreign facilities of $22 million.
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