What to Expect Now that PSR Compliance is Required
“This is a marathon; not a sprint.”
Those were the words of Samir Assar, Director of FDA’s Division of Produce Safety in the Center for Applied Nutrition and Food Safety (CFSAN). The quote came as part of a Q&A that appeared last week on the FDA’s website. The Q&A – titled “What to Expect Now that Larger Farms Must Comply with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule” – provides some important insights into how farmers should look at the compliance date for the PSR – a date that, for large farms, came into effect on January 26th.
We have worked with Samir and the staff at CFSAN for many years. Most recently we worked with them on updating the LGMA Metrics so that they are aligned with the Produce Safety Rule. In speaking of the FDA’s objectives in relation to the produce safety rule, Samir also shared:
Our overriding goal is to work in partnership with farmers, the produce industry, regulatory partners and other stakeholders to have a system in place that systematically works to keep fruits and vegetables free of contamination.
In the Q&A, Samir stressed that the FDA will work closely with the states on implementing the PSR. This is very much in keeping with the LGMA’s objectives of doing the same – in fact, the direct line of authority that runs from FDA to the State of California is what will ensure leafy greens who meet the LGMA’s requirements that they are also in compliance with the Produce Safety Rule.
Educate & Then Regulate
He also stressed that 2018 will see on-farm readiness reviews, which he describes as “an opportunity to help farmers assess how well they’re prepared to meet the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule.”
FDA is encouraging produce farmers to get familiarize themselves with PSR requirements. Likewise, the LGMA is suggesting California leafy greens farmers do two things right now:
- Become familiar with the new LGMA Metrics. As mentioned above, they have been brought into full alignment with the Produce Safety Rule, and as of April 1, 2018, they will be part of the LGMA audit.
- Review the training requirements of the rule (now part of the Metrics as well); in particular, make sure that all growers who are covered by the law and that provide leafy greens to any of our member companies have attended the Produce Safety Rule training program mandated under the law. For more information on training requirement and opportunities to register for workshops, click here