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Deadline to Comply with Certain Provisions of Produce Safety Rule Extended

The FDA has extended certain compliance dates associated with its November 2015 final rule setting forth standards for the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of produce for human consumption. Specifically, the agency is extending for covered products other than sprouts the dates for compliance with the agricultural water provisions in this rule. The new compliance dates are 26 January 2024 for very small businesses, 26 January 2023 for small businesses, and 26 January 2022 for all other businesses.

The produce safety rule sets forth enforceable science- and risk-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables on foreign and domestic farms. The rule covers all fruits and vegetables except those rarely consumed raw, produce for personal or on-farm consumption, or produce that is not a raw agricultural commodity. In addition, produce that receives commercial processing that adequately reduces the presence of microorganisms of public health significance is eligible for exemption from the requirements of this rule.

The rule sets forth procedures, processes and practices that minimise the risk of serious adverse health consequences or death, including those reasonably necessary to prevent the introduction of known or reasonably foreseeable biological hazards into or onto produce and to provide reasonable assurances that the produce is not adulterated on account of such hazards. These standards include requirements for water quality, employee health and hygiene, wild and domesticated animals, biological soil amendments of animal origin (such as compost and manure), and equipment, tools and buildings.

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