The amount of time and effort devoted to evaluation of the produce safety rule by individuals and organizations of all types and stripes is staggering, and we are nowhere near the November deadline for comments.
Consider this thoughtful submission from The George Washington University. From the paper's powerhouse conclusion:
FDA’s proposed Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption does not meet statutory and executive requirements, and may needlessly harm consumers as well as small farmers domestically and abroad. First, estimates supporting the rule are based on very limited data and unscientific methods. FDA nevertheless relies on point estimates, rather than presenting a range of likely effects. Second, FDA does not consider unintended side effects associated with higher prices for the fresh commodities covered. Third, even accepting FDA’s analysis at face value, the selected option does not maximize net benefits as required by presidential Executive Orders 12866 and 13563. The recommendations below would address some of these issues in the proposed rule and analysis.
Exempt Farms with Annual Sales less than $100,000
FDA is both authorized by the statute to provide small farms with additional flexibility, and instructed via Executive Order to maximize the net benefits of its rule. The exemption threshold proposed in this rule neither provides small farms with this flexibility nor maximizes net benefits. Based on the agency’s own analysis, exempting all farms smaller than $100,000 would maximize net benefits while also providing additional flexibility for small farms.