Technical assistance

FDA proposes another time frame for pre-harvest agricultural water needs

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to extend compliance dates for preharvest agricultural water provisions, as reported in the recent 2021 proposed rule for agricultural water.

The proposed 2021 agricultural water rule, if finalized, will require farms to conduct annual systems-based agricultural water assessments to determine and guide appropriate actions to minimize potential associated risks. to agricultural water before harvest. The rule is part of Congress’ mandate in the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011.

The FDA is now proposing extended compliance dates for these proposed pre-harvest requirements and is also providing information clarifying discretionary enforcement policy for agricultural water requirements for harvest and post-harvest.

The supplemental regulations propose to establish the following compliance dates for pre-harvest agricultural water requirements for covered commodities other than sprouts: 2 years and 9 months after the effective date of a rule definitive for very small companies; 1 year and 9 months after the effective date of a final small business rule; and 9 months after the effective date of a final rule for all other businesses

.Agricultural Water Requirements Compliance Dates for Harvest and Post-Harvest
The proposed 2021 pre-harvest agricultural water rule did not propose substantial changes to the agricultural water requirements for harvest and post-harvest in the commodity safety rule; however, the FDA acknowledges that prior to the proposal, stakeholders were unsure whether the FDA might propose to change agricultural water requirements for harvest and post-harvest.

Additionally, the FDA recognizes that adequate training and technical assistance is necessary to fully recognize the benefits of harvest and post-harvest requirements. Therefore, it intends to maintain the agricultural water requirements enforcement discretion for harvest and post-harvest of the Commodity Safety Rule until the following dates: January 26, 2025, for very small businesses; January 26, 2024, for small businesses; and January 26, 2023 for all others.

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