The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is exploring ways to simplify the microbial quality and testing requirements for agricultural water established by the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA’s) produce safety rule while still protecting public health.
Agricultural water can be a major conduit of pathogens that can contaminate produce. That is why FSMA’s produce safety rule sets microbial quality standards for agricultural water, including irrigation water that comes into contact with produce.
However, the feedback that the FDA has received is that some of these standards, which include numerical criteria for pre-harvest microbial water quality, may be too complex to understand, translate, and implement. These factors can be important to achieving high rates of compliance.
In response to these concerns, the FDA is considering how it might simplify the water standards. FDA intends to work with stakeholders as these efforts related to the water standards proceed.
It is important that as FDA implements FSMA, the agency strikes an appropriate regulatory balance and decreases regulatory burdens whenever appropriate. FDA remains committed to protecting public health while implementing rules that are workable across the diversity of the food industry.