California Implementing Produce Safety Rule on Small Farms

“Small” and “very small” produce farms throughout California are being mailed educational letters about their roles in upholding the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), says the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The letters contain questionnaires to verify commodities grown, determine whether annual sales qualify farms for a PSR exemption, and to help prioritize future inspections. The Department’s Produce Safety Program offers a website with the ability to schedule an On-Farm Readiness Review and to register for a mandatory Produce Safety Rule Grower Training Course. “Small” farms with average annual sales of $250,000–$500,000 during the previous three-year period are now expected to be in PSR compliance, with inspections set to begin in January 2020. “Very small” farms with average annual sales of $25,000–$250,000 during the previous three-year period must be in general compliance by January 2020, with inspections set to begin in January 2021. Any farm that does not comply with the Produce Safety Rule may face economic, regulatory, and legal consequences.