All required food safety practices included under FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule must be followed on California produce farms.
Required practices fall into the following categories:
- Personnel Qualifications and Training
- Health and Hygiene
- Biological Soil Amendments
- Domesticated and Wild Animals
- Growing, Harvesting, Packing and Holding Activities
- Equipment Tools, Building and Sanitation
- Agricultural Water (under enforcement discretion during proposed revision rulemaking process)
Information on the Agricultural Water Provisions
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the process of revising the agricultural water provisions in the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption (Produce Safety Rule). FDA announced a policy of enforcement discretion and a proposal for future compliance dates during the revision process. In a Constituent Update released 18 July, 2022, FDA announced the following:
FDA policy to exercise enforcement discretion for harvest and post-harvest agricultural water requirements is scheduled to end
- January 26, 2025 for very small business size class farms
- January 26, 2024 for small business size class farms
- January 26, 2023 for large business size class farms
FDA proposed compliance dates for pre-harvest agricultural water requirements (sometimes called production water) are dependent on the final publication and effective date of the proposed revisions to the agricultural water requirements. Compliance is proposed to begin after the effective date of the final rule by
- 2 years and 9 months for very small business size class farms
- 1 year and 9 months for small business size class farms
- 9 months for large business size class farms.
The agricultural water provisions are being revised due to concerns about the practical implementation of compliance with certain provisions. FDA is working to further reduce the regulatory burden and increase flexibility while continuing to achieve regulatory objectives, in keeping with the Administration's policies. For more information, please see the following:
- FDA Announcement: FSMA Proposed Rule on Agricultural Water
- Past Activity Related to Agricultural Water Regulation
On December 6, 2021, the FDA initiated a 120-day comment period on the proposed revision, which will be followed by the FDA rulemaking process. A new tool, the Agricultural Water Assessment Builder, was released by FDA to help farms understand the proposed requirements. Comments were submitted to the Federal Register until April 05, 2022, where nearly 200 stakeholder comments may be viewed including those submitted by CDFA.
Resources to Understand Required Practices:
- Draft: Guidance for Industry: Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption
Note: These guidelines have been released for public comment but they are not yet finalized.
- Produce Safety Rule (full text)
- On-Farm Readiness Review