The FDA has recently completed its publication of proposed food safety rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). They would require many of Vermont’s farmers and food processors to adopt new, and perhaps costly, equipment and practices designed to improve the safety of fresh produce and processed foods.
The public has until November 15 to submit comments and recommendations to the FDA, which will be considered in developing final rules that will likely take effect in the next several years.
It is important for every farmer and food processor to learn about these proposed rules and determine how they would affect their businesses. Farm and food advocacy organizations around the country have prepared summaries of the rules and information about how to submit comments to the FDA. (See links below.) In the weeks ahead, NOFA Vermont will be making additional information available - join our mailing list for the latest updates.
Upcoming opportunities to learn more and make your voice heard:
- August 8: What Farmers Need to Know: Commenting on the Food Safety Modernization Act at the University of New Hampshire Extension office in North Haverhill, NH.
- August 13: Free Webinar on FMSA for New England Food Producers, Buyers, and More
- August 20: Three-hour FDA Listening Session on FSMA at Dartmouth College. This will be an excellent opportunity to make comments and ask questions directly of FDA officials.
For more information about FSMA and how it might affect you:
- National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (extensive background and talking points)
- New England Farmers Union (slightly shorter)
- The Produce Safety Alliance has good general information on produce safety and the FSMA and, they have hosted recorded Question and Answer sessions with the FDA on specific items of concern. If you don’t want to read through all these, download the sessions and listen while working.
- The NHVBGA has created a website for growers to discuss FSMA.
- The Summer 2013 issue of the Natural Farmer is devoted to FSMA and has a number of excellent articles and talking points.
- The FDA has new website on FSMA and is constantly adding new resources.
Submit your comments to the FDA.
Quantity Counts! The more smaller-scale and diversified farmers they hear from, the better. To submit comments:
[by Dave Rogers, NOFA-VT Policy Advisor]