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NH Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food
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Food Safety Modernization Act

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the federal food safety law that applies to farms growing fruits and vegetables that may be eaten raw. FSMA is intended to reduce the risk of microbial contamination of fresh produce by shifting focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. It will be administered by the federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

The law was passed two years ago, but proposed regulations were released in January 2013, for public comment up to September 16, 2013. Two rules may be of particular interest to New England producers because of their potential impact on current farm operations.

  1. The Produce Safety Rule applies to "farms" or those who grow, harvest, pack or hold covered produce. The rules apply to produce generally eaten raw, i.e. greens, melons, tomatoes, apples, etc. (aka "covered produce" or raw agricultural commodities "RAC's"). They do not apply to produce not eaten raw, i.e. sweet corn, potatoes, pumpkins, etc. Also not covered is produce grown for personal consumption, on farm consumption, or on another farm under the same ownership.
  2. The Preventive Controls Rule applies to "facilities" that manufacture, process, pack or hold human food and to operations that buy and resell products grown on other farms. These facilities will need to register with the federal government and comply with regulations outlined in the preventive controls portion of the rule. Facilities are defined in the rules and cover operations that modify or process produce from its original state.

There are exemptions to both rules but many producers, even small producers, may exceed the limits. Get more details in the factsheet below. There are also several educational opportunities regarding FSMA planned during August, including a regional "Listening Session" with federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA) officials on Aug. 20 in Hanover, NH. This session provides the opportunity for federal officials to hear directly from farmers regarding how the proposed rules will impact their operations and for farmers to ask questions about the rules. See details below.

Portable Document Format SymbolPortable Document Format (.pdf). Visit nh.gov for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.


NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food
Mailing: PO Box 2042, Concord NH 03302 -2042
Physical: 25 Capitol Street, Second Floor, Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-3551 | fax: (603) 271-1109