Update on the Produce Safety Rule From Oregon Department of Agriculture

Sue Davis, Produce Safety Development Specialist, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture
Publish Date: 
Winter 2018
VolNo: 
Vol. XIII No. 1

Do you grow fresh produce in Oregon? If you do, Oregon Department of Agriculture and OSU Extension have some resources to assist you with understanding produce safety regulations, attending training required for covered farms, and additional services.Mixed Produce. Photo provided by Oregon Department of Agriculture

Oregon Department of Agriculture is working under a multi-year cooperative agreement with FDA to provide education and outreach— including resource development and technical assistance—to Oregon producers, handlers, and shippers of produce that is subject to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.

Sue Davis is the ODA’s Produce Safety Development Specialist that coordinates this effort. She is located in Hood River and can be reached at 503-807-5864 for questions and technical assistance regarding the Produce Safety Rule (PSR). The department also is developing a cross-functional team that includes the inspection, audit, and certification staff that can assist with understanding and implementing the produce safety rule. Additional staff will be hired and assigned to regions in the Willamette Valley and in eastern Oregon in the next year.

Some of the key services ODA is offering, or will be offering, include:

• On-Farm Readiness Reviews – Non-regulatory on-farm visits to assist growers with evaluating their readiness for the PSR.

• Produce Safety Alliance Grower Trainings – Training is required for all farms that are covered under the produce safety rule, but we recommend that you attend even if your farm is not currently covered in case you grow into coverage. These day-long trainings meet the PSR requirement for foods safety training for covered farms.

• Opportunities for Oregon producers to provide region- and commodity-specific guidance directly to policymakers at FDA.

• Resources to help determine whether your operation is covered by the PSR.

• Understanding exemptions and qualified exemptions, what documentation is required for your farm, how to evaluate your farm’s readiness for the PSR, and much more.

Oregon State University Extension faculty and staff are engaged in planning trainings and conducting outreach along with ODA, and the two organizations are working closely together on PSR implementation with the goal of expanding ODA’s outreach capacity and leveraging OSU Extension’s regional relationships and expertise. Update on the Produce Safety Rule From Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) Sue Davis, Produce Safety Development Specialist, Oregon Dept. of AgricultureHow will an orchard be affected by the new rules? Photo provided by Oregon Department of Agriculture

One of the most important insights into the PSR that the industry needs to understand is the PSR is not a traditional audit. Rather it sets a minimum standard for food safety in the form of a set of regulatory requirements for growers, harvesters, and handlers of covered produce. Unlike audit schemes, under the PSR you would not request a visit from FDA to confirm your compliance. Rather you will need to be prepared should FDA decide to conduct a routine produce farm inspection on your operation. Different size farms have compliance dates that differ for various sections of the rule. You can find more information about compliance dates and requirements on ODA’s FSMA webpage.

For additional information on the Produce Safety Rule, please visit ODA’s FSMA webpage, or contact Sue Davis at sdavis@oda.state.or.us for additional guidance, resource referrals, and information on upcoming trainings.