What Consumers Should Know
- Fruit, vegetable and nut farms in California and throughout the U.S. are now required to follow specific food safety practices under a new federal regulation known as the Produce Safety Rule.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been charged with oversight of this new rule and it is being implemented in California by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
- Food safety practices required on farms are designed to ensure produce is properly handled by workers who are trained to use good hygiene, to ensure farm equipment is sanitary, to ensure that soils where produce is grown are safe, and to ensure that measures are in place to prevent contamination of produce by wildlife or nearby domesticated animals. Additionally, farmers are required to keep written records to document their farming practices.
- Many produce farms have been implementing these kinds of food safety practices on their farms for years.
- An important role of the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Produce Safety Program is to educate California produce farmers about the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule.
- It's estimated that 20,000 farms in California are subject to the Produce Safety Rule. It is the goal of CDFA that requirements of this new food safety rule become ingrained in the culture of California produce farming so that our state continues to grow the safest produce possible.
- Routine on-farm inspections to verify farmers are following the Produce Safety Rule are now being conducted through an inspection unit within CDFA called the Produce Safety Program.
- Produce Safety Program inspectors in California are highly trained scientists credentialled by the FDA. The inspectors are part of a government agency charged with protecting the food supply. They provide independent, unbiased, consistent inspections of California produce farms.
- Most grocery stores and restaurants already require farmers to follow food safety practices on their farms. In addition, many organizations conduct research and provide food safety guidelines that produce farmers have been following for years.