FDA Proposes Agricultural Water Rule Changes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a proposed agricultural water rule as part of the agency’s implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). It proposes to replace some of the existing requirements for agricultural water in the Produce Safety Rule (PSR). For example, it would require farms to conduct comprehensive assessments that would help them identify and mitigate hazards in water used to grow produce. Key provisions in the proposed rule include a requirement for farms to manage their agricultural water quality based on the results of a comprehensive systems assessment, an annual assessment by farms of their pre-harvest agricultural water, a requirement that farms implement expedited mitigation measures for hazards related to certain activities on adjacent and nearby lands, and removal of certain testing requirements for pre-harvest agricultural water (to be replaced with assessments).