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Food & Drug Protection Division

Produce Safety Program

The Food Safety Modernization Act or FSMA, signed into law in 2011, establishes a “farm to fork” approach to food safety with a focus on prevention. The Produce Safety Rule (PSR), one of the rules associated with FSMA, establishes science based, minimum standards for the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables. Farms that produce fresh fruits and vegetables commonly consumed raw may be subject to the PSR- there are exemptions to the rule.

North Carolina agribusiness is fortunate to have strong leadership in NCDA&CS that supports a food safety culture and investments in food safety efforts; this leadership is evident at the highest level. NC Commissioner of Agriculture, Steve Troxler, Past President of NASDA, and Joe Reardon, Assistant Commissioner for Consumer Protection, have been strong advocates, at the state and national level, for the role of State agencies, optimally State Departments of Agriculture, in developing and delivering outreach, education and inspection programs responsive to the regulatory mandates of the PSR.

The NCDA&CS Produce Safety Program, developed under a cooperative agreement with FDA, provides support to NC fresh produce farmers through education and outreach to build knowledge of the PSR and assist in developing programs responsive to the Rule. The Produce Safety Program collaborates with NC State University, NCDA Research Stations and other key stakeholders such as the NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force to provide assistance and technical support to the farming community. In addition to providing education and outreach, the Produce Safety Program is also tasked with conducting produce safety inspections to determine compliance with the Rule.

A key component of the outreach and education program is the On-Farm Readiness Review program. An On-Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) is a voluntary and non-regulatory review of a farm’s readiness for compliance with the PSR. OFRRs will provide farmers with information and resources to assist in meeting the requirements of the PSR and prepare for inspections. During an OFRR, a farmer has access to produce safety experts that will evaluate on-farm practices and conditions to provide feedback on what is going well and identify opportunities for improvement in food safety practices. The reviewers will provide resources to enhance produce safety practices and will suggest produce safety improvements specific to the farm.”

For more information on the program and to sign up for an On-Farm Readiness Review, please click on the following links (PDF documents):

What to Expect During and On-Farm Readiness Review

What to Expect Informational Handout for Farmers

NCDA OFRR Request Form

Produce Safety Rule

Links:

NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force

Produce Safety Alliance

Sprout Safety Alliance

FDA Produce Safety Network

FDA FSMA Final Rule on Produce Safety

 

Contact:

Christopher Harris
Produce Safety Program
North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Food & Drug Protection Division
Main Office - (919) 614-3082
Fax - (919) 733-6801

 

Funding for this publication was made possible in part by the Food and Drug Administration through grant PAR-16-137. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does any mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organization imply endorsement by the United States Government.

Food Program, Daniel Gaines, Food Administrator
Mailing Address: 1070 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1070
Physical Address: 4000 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh NC 27607-6465
Phone: (919) 733-7366; FAX: (919) 733-6801


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