The Six Key Requirements of the Produce Safety Rule
1. Agricultural Water
Requirements for agricultural water quality and testing are designed to detect contamination by feces, which may be accompanied by bacteria that cause disease.
2. Biological Soil Amendments
There are requirements for the use of biological soil amendments of animal origin, which includes manure and compost, which are added to soil to improve its ability to support plant growth. These requirements will help reduce the likelihood of potentially dangerous bacteria entering the food supply.
Sprouts have been associated frequently with foodborne illness outbreaks. The final rule includes testing and other standards for producing sprouts to prevent contamination with dangerous microbes, such as Listeria monocytogenes
4. Domesticated and Wild Animals
There are often animals on farms, such as livestock, and even wild animals, like deer. During harvest, farmers are required to take all reasonably necessary steps to identity potential contamination (including contamination by animals) and not harvest the affected produce. In some circumstances, farmers must also take steps to assess potential contamination by animals during the growing season, in anticipation of these requirements at harvest.
5. Worker Training and Health and Hygiene
Farm workers handling covered produce and/or food contact surfaces, including their supervisors, must be trained on the importance of health and hygiene. Farms must take steps to prevent contamination of produce and food-contact surfaces by people who are sick. This includes instructing farm works to notify their supervisors if there’s an issue with their health or hygiene that could compromise the safety of the produce.
6. Equipment, Tools and Buildings
Finally, there are standards related to equipment, tools and buildings to prevent problems, such as poor sanitation, from contaminating produce. Buildings covered by these requirements include greenhouses and germination chambers.
For more information regarding each of the six main requirements in the PSR visit the FDA’s PSR final rule website.