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New Food Safety Regulations: Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
What is FSMA?
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law in 2011, is the first significant overhaul of food safety regulations since the 1930s. The intent of the law, which will be implemented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is to prevent food borne illness.
FDA is currently in the "rulemaking" stage of implementation, writing the rules it will use to implement the law.
What Just Happened?
On November 22, FDA closed an almost year-long public comment period on two draft regulations they will use to implement FSMA. These regulations -- known as the produce rule and the preventive controls rule -- will apply to farms and food facilities (manufacturing/processing, packing, and holding).
How We Commented
The OSU Small Farms Program submitted comments on both rules. We developed our comments in consultation with small farms and food businesses and other local food system stakeholders around Oregon.
How Others Commented
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition provided important leadership to assure that the provisions in FSMA that protect sustainable and organic agriculture as well as local food systems were upheld. Read their comments here.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture also commented, including several issues important to Oregon's thriving small farms and local food systems. Read their comments here.
Steve Gilman, Northeast Organic Farming Association, provides valuable political background and analysis of FSMA in this May 2013 article (click on "read more").
FDA will spend the coming months reviewing and responding to the thousands of comments it received on the draft rules. The Agency will then issue revised rules -- for another round of public comment, we hope. The revisions are likely to be so extensive that farmers, food businesses, public agencies, nonprofits, and even Congress are calling on FDA to let the public weigh in again.