By: Hilary Thesmar, PhD, RD, CFS, Chief Food and Product Safety Officer and Vice President, Food Safety Programs, Food Marketing Institute
Melon Field

With the FSMA Produce Safety Rule compliance date later this month, the FDA continues to educate and clarify how they expect the industry to comply with FSMA regulations. On January 4, 2018, the FDA announced their intention to exert discretionary enforcement for certain provisions in four rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This announcement further delays several provisions within Compliance Date Extensions and Clarifications for FSMA Final Rules in order to make the rules practical for implementation and for industry stakeholders to focus on developing the risk-based solutions outlined in the previously published FSMA final rules.

In order to offer science-based approaches for FSMA compliance, the FMI Center for Food Retail Safety and Defense presented a webinar, “Your 'Get Ready' Checklist for Produce Safety Compliance,” hosted by ReposiTrak on December 5, 2017. FMI offers valuable training, regulatory and technical resources that help companies of all sizes prepare for future produce safety compliance dates. The only change in compliance date related to the produce safety rule impacts the definition of farms performing other functions and does not impact retailers or wholesalers selling produce. In fact, retailers and wholesalers are not regulated by the produce safety rule, but should understand the requirements of the rule so that they can understand what their produce growers need to do to meet the food safety requirements.

Ultimately, retailers are committed to working with the FDA and produce growers to ensure safe food is sold to consumers. FMI is proud to advocate as the voice of food retailers by offering scientifically-supported public comments that protect public health and providing long-term food safety solutions that serve member company needs.

For more information about FSMA and the Produce Safety Rule, visit the Produce Safety Alliance or FMI FSMA Resource Center for training and compliance support.