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FDA releases fact sheet for harvest and post-harvest agricultural water provisions

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January 13, 2023 — The intended enforcement discretion period for the harvest and post-harvest agricultural water provisions for covered produce (other than sprouts) in the Produce Safety Rule ends on January 26, 2023 for all businesses other than small and very small businesses.

To help prepare growers, the FDA has released a fact sheet with questions and answers on the requirements.

In December 2021, the FDA issued a proposed rule that would revise subpart E of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule to change certain pre-harvest agricultural water requirements for covered produce other than sprouts. The proposal did not include changes to the harvest and post-harvest requirements for agricultural water.

Subsequently, the FDA issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to extend the compliance dates for the pre-harvest requirements and announced end dates for the intended enforcement discretion provided for the harvest and post-harvest agricultural water requirements, as follows

  • January 26, 2025, for very small businesses;
  • January 26, 2024, for small businesses; and
  • January 26, 2023, for all other businesses.

As has been done with other FSMA rules, the FDA plans to take an educational posture for the harvest and post-harvest requirements as we begin implementing those requirements. During the first year after the end of the intended enforcement discretion period, FDA will work closely with international, state and industry partners during this time to advance training, technical assistance, educational visits, and on-farm readiness reviews to prepare both farmers and regulators for implementing these provisions.

Stakeholders who have questions about these requirements should contact their local Produce Safety Network representative or submit an inquiry to the FSMA Technical Assistance Network.