The Food and Drug Administration has released draft documents designed to help growers better understand the Produce Safety Rule and processors understand the Preventive Controls Rule.
Industry stakeholders have until April 22, 2019, to submit comments on the FDA’s “guidance documents.”
The Produce Safety Rule guidance, “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting Packing and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption: Guidance for Industry,” has examples of possible situations and how to comply with the rule, enacted under the Food Safety Modernization Act.
“It’s important to recognize that not every scenario is covered in the draft guidance, and farmers can always use an alternate approach as long as it satisfies the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement about the documents. “But farmers can use the draft guidance as a guide to help evaluate their own on-farm practices.”
The document includes “at-a-glance” chapter overviews, according to the statement.
The second FDA document, “Guide to Minimize Food Safety Hazards of Fresh-cut Produce,” covers new hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls, according to Gottlieb’s statement. It replaces a 2008 document and is designed to give fresh-cut companies more up-to-date information.
The FDA is planning four public meetings around the country to get feedback from the industry on the guidance. Those dates have not been set yet, according to the agency.
“Stakeholder input and feedback has been a critical part of the FSMA implementation process,” Gottlieb said in the statement. “And we’re committed to hearing all perspectives.
“Our aim is to ensure that the guidance we put in place will help industry comply with the new food safety standards and achieve the goal of producing safer produce.” according to the statement.