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  1. Inspection References

Produce Safety Inspections

The first major compliance date for large farms subject to the Produce Safety Rule, other than sprout operations, arrived on January 26, 2018 (large farms are those that, on a rolling basis, have sold an average of more than $500,000 a year in produce over the past three years). However, FDA conveyed in a previous announcement that routine inspections associated with the rule would not begin until Spring 2019.  This action was intended to allow FDA and its state partners time to provide additional opportunities for education and outreach, such as through the  On-Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) program. 

FDA began routine inspections of large farms other than sprouts operations subject to the Produce Safety Rule, including large produce farms in other countries, in Spring 2019. States receiving Competition A/B funding as part of the State Produce Implementation Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) were asked to use Spring 2019 as their starting dates for routine inspections of large produce farms.

Routine inspections of small farms, other than sprouts operations, subject to the Produce Safety Rule, for which the compliance date arrived on January 28, 2019, will generally begin in Spring 2020; however, states may begin routine inspections as early as January 1, 2020. This date is intended to give states the flexibility to align routine inspections with the winter growing season where applicable. Individual states will make final decisions on whether to initiate their first inspections of small farms at the earlier date in January 2020.

States utilizing the earlier date of January 1, 2020 should prioritize completing planned inspections of large farms subject to the rule, prior to inspecting small farms. (Small farms are those that, on a rolling basis, have sold an average of more than $250,000 but not more than $500,000 a year in produce over the past three years.)

FDA began routine Foreign Supplier Verification Programs inspections of importers of produce from large farms in other countries in Fall 2019.

We appreciate the close collaboration with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and our state partners as we approach this important milestone in our produce regulatory program. The voluntary OFRR program will continue to be available to industry as inspections begin.

In FDA Voices, Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Melinda Plaisier, MSW, and Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas, MPH, explain what FDA has been doing to support stakeholders’ work to comply with this rule.  Below are a variety of resources to help prepare farmers and regulators for the start of inspections.