The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a proposed rule that aims to enhance the safety of produce. It proposes to require farms to conduct comprehensive assessments that would help them identify and mitigate hazards in water used to grow produce.
This is the latest step in the agency's implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA), and it proposes to replace some of the existing requirements for agricultural water in the Produce Safety Rule (PSR).
"There have been far too many foodborne illness outbreaks possibly linked to pre-harvest agricultural water in recent years, including water coming from lands nearby produce farms, said Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response. "The proposed rule is the latest action taken by the FDA to continue working towards implementation of key provisions of FSMA. If finalised, we're confident this proposal would result in fewer outbreaks in the US related to produce, protecting public health and saving lives. This proposed rule is a monumental step towards further improving the safety of the fruits and vegetables Americans serve their families every day, and the FDA looks forward to engaging with stakeholders on the proposed changes."
The proposed rule, if finalised, would change certain pre-harvest agricultural water requirements for produce and farms subject to the PSR, other than sprouts operations.