On Friday the Friday released a fact sheet and constituent update to remind produce stakeholders of the upcoming end of the intended enforcement discretion period for the harvest and post-harvest agricultural water requirements in the Produce Safety Rule for covered produce other than sprouts.

For large farms covered by the rule, this period will end in just days on January 26, 2023.

As it has done with other FSMA rules, the Food and Drug Administration plans to take an educational posture for these harvest and post-harvest requirements as farms begin implementing them. During the first year after the end of the intended enforcement discretion period, FDA will work closely with state and industry partners to advance training, technical assistance, educational visits, and on-farm readiness reviews to prepare both farmers and state regulators for implementing these provisions.

 The FDA continues to intend to exercise enforcement discretion for the pre-harvest agricultural water requirements for covered produce other than sprouts while the FDA continues the rulemaking process. 

The intended enforcement discretion period for the harvest and post-harvest agricultural water provisions for covered produce (other than sprouts) in the Produce Safety Rule will end on January 26, 2023, for all businesses other than small and very small businesses.

To help prepare growers, the FDA has released a fact sheet with questions and answers on the requirements.

In December 2021, the FDA issued a proposed rule that would revise subpart E of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule to change certain pre-harvest agricultural water requirements for covered produce other than sprouts.

The proposal did not include changes to the harvest and post-harvest requirements for agricultural water. Subsequently, the FDA issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to extend the compliance dates for the pre-harvest requirements and announced end dates for the intended enforcement discretion provided for the harvest and post-harvest agricultural water requirements, as follows:

  • January 26, 2025, for very small businesses;
  • January 26, 2024, for small businesses; and
  • January 26, 2023, for all other businesses.

During the first year after the end of the intended enforcement discretion period, FDA will work closely with international, state, and industry partners to advance training, technical assistance, educational visits, and on-farm readiness reviews to prepare both farmers and regulators for implementing these provisions. 

Stakeholders who have questions about these requirements should contact their local Produce Safety Network representative or submit an inquiry to the FSMA Technical Assistance Network.

Additional Information

  • Fact Sheet: Compliance with Subpart E Requirements for Harvest and Post-Harvest Agricultural Water
  • FDA Final Rule on Produce Safety
  • Constituent Update: FDA Proposes Compliance Date Extension for Pre-Harvest Agricultural Water Requirements (2022)
  • FSMA Proposed Rule on Agricultural Water

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