Food safety specialists at the Produce Marketing Association have boiled down revisions to proposed rules from the Food and Drug Administration to help members more easily meet the Dec. 15 deadline for filing comments.

“These summaries offer real-world translations of the proposed rules, and what you need to know to advocate effectively on behalf of your company and the industry,” PMA’s chief science officer Bob Whitaker said in a news release.

“These proposed FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) rules will have profound business implications on every aspect of the global produce supply chain. PMA members told us this was important, because of that, FSMA has been prioritized as one of the top focuses for PMA.”

As part of that focus, PMA has scheduled an education session with Mike Taylor, deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 17 at Fresh Summit in Anaheim, Calif. Also scheduled for that session is Samir Assar, FDA’s director of produce safety.

After Fresh Summit,PMA plans a Web seminar at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time Nov. 3. Officials from FDA will answer questions and discuss the comment process. Comments are due by Dec. 15 and can be submitted online at www.regulations.gov.

The condensed versions of the revised proposed rule for fresh produce and the revised proposed rule for foreign supplier verification are available on the PMA website at http://tinyurl.com/PMAonFSMA.

Among the proposed produce rule revisions highlighted by PMA are:

  • Definitions of farm, harvesting, packing and holding;
  • Exclusion of farms having less than $25,000 per year in produce sales;
  • Agricultural water preventive controls;
  • Biological soil amendments of animal origin preventive controls;
  • Protections of endangered species; and
  • Withdrawal and reinstatement of a “qualified exemption.”

The foreign supplier revised proposed rule now requires that importers take appropriate verification measures based on the food and supplier risks, according to PMA, and the FDA has proposed a two-tier scheme for verification based on risk. The key provisions are:

  • Hazard analysis;
  • Supplier verification; and
  • Compliance dates.