The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, in conjunction with the Northeast Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NEASDA), will host an open Listening Session on November 17th, 2014, to offer farmers and food processors an opportunity to provide comment on new supplemental rules proposed by the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Attendees will have opportunities to both learn and ask questions during the listening session, which will take place from 9:00am - 1:00pm in the Chase Center located at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton, VT. While oriented towards regional farmers and food processors specifically, this listening session is open to all interested parties from across the northeast.
Visit VAAFM's website for more information, including the full press release with this event's details, links to the proposed rules, and links through which growers and manufacturers are especially encouraged to submit their comments, .
The changes include:
Produce Safety: More flexible criteria for determining the safety of agricultural water for certain uses and a tiered approach to water testing.
Produce Safety: A commitment to conduct extensive research on the safe use of raw manure in growing areas and complete a risk assessment. Pending those actions, FDA is deferring its decision on an appropriate time interval between the application of raw manure and the harvesting of a crop and removing the nine-month interval originally proposed. FDA also proposes eliminating the 45-day minimum application interval for composted manure that meets proposed microbial standards and application requirements.
Preventive Controls for Human and Animal Foods: Requirements that human and animal food facilities, when appropriate, test products and the food facility's environment, as well as implement certain supplier controls.
The FDA will accept comments on the revised provisions for 75 days after publication in the Federal Register, while continuing to review comments already received on the original proposed rules. No additional comments will be accepted on the original proposals. FDA will consider both sets of comments - on the original proposed rules and on the revisions - before issuing final rules in 2015.
These were developed during the public comment period that closed in late 2013 and early 2014, but have information on the projected impact of the proposed legislation that may be valuable as you attempt to assess what it could mean for your operation.