Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it is exploring ways to simplify the agricultural water standards established by the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) produce safety rule (PSR) after receiving feedback from stakeholders that some of the requirements are too complex to understand and implement.
FDA is now announcing its intention to extend the compliance dates for agricultural water requirements in the PSR (other than for sprouts). The FDA intends to extend the compliance dates using appropriate procedures at a later time and the length of the extension is under consideration.
The FDA intends to use the extended time period to work with stakeholders as it considers the best approach to address their concerns while still protecting public health. The extended compliance dates will also give farms an opportunity to continue to review their practices, processes and procedures related to agricultural water and how it is used on their farms.
Agricultural water can be a major conduit of pathogens that can contaminate produce, which is why FSMA’s produce safety rule sets microbial quality standards for agricultural water, including irrigation water that comes into contact with produce. FDA remains committed to protecting public health while implementing rules that are workable across the diversity of the food industry.