The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it is providing flexibility for when states may begin conducting routine inspections of small farms, other than sprouts operations, under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.
Routine inspections of small farms, other than sprouts operations, subject to the Produce Safety Rule, will generally begin in Spring 2020; however, the FDA is clarifying that states receiving competition A/B funding as part of the State Produce Implementation Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) may begin routine inspections as early as Jan. 1, 2020. This clarification is being made after several requests from states to have greater flexibility to align routine inspections with the winter growing season where applicable.
Individual states will make final decisions on whether to initiate their first routine inspections of small farms at the earlier date in January 2020. States that want to begin routine inspections of small farms, other than sprouts operations, on Jan. 1, 2020, should prioritize completing their planned inspections of large farms subject to the rule before conducting routine inspections of those small farms.
The major compliance date for small farms, other than sprouts operations, subject to the Produce Safety Rule arrived on Jan. 28, 2019; however, the FDA had previously announced that routine inspections would not begin until Spring 2020. The delayed start to routine inspection follows a similar delay for the start of routine inspections of large farms (other than sprout operations), both done to provide the FDA and its state partners additional time to conduct education and outreach.
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