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January 17, 2023

FDA Enforcement Discretion Period for Harvest and Post-harvest Agricultural Water Requirements Ends Jan. 26, 2023 for Most

The date for the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR) for pre- and post-harvest agricultural water requirements for non-sprout covered produce is set for Jan. 26, 2023 for businesses that don’t fall into the small business or very small business categories, which have a Jan. 26, 2024 and Jan. 26, 2025 date, respectively.

The agency announced that it plans to take an educational posture for the harvest and post-harvest agricultural water requirements as the enforcement discretion period ends. During the first year after the end of the intended enforcement discretion policy, FDA will work closely with state and industry partners to advance training, technical assistance, educational visits, and on-farm readiness reviews to prepare both farmers and state regulators for implementing these provisions.

According to the PSR: “Agricultural water is water used in covered activities on covered produce where water is intended to, or is likely to, contact covered produce or food contact surfaces, including water used in growing activities and in harvesting, packing, and holding activities.”

To ensure that all agricultural water is safe and of adequate sanitary quality in the harvest and post-harvest process, the FDA recommends reviewing the details of the requirements in Subpart E of the document found here. 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.

To find answers to common questions, visit here. To access the agency’s full announcement, click here

If a Western Growers member has any questions, please reach out to WG’s AVP Science Sonia Salas at [email protected].