On-Farm Food Safety and FSMA
What is the Food Safety Modernization Act (also known as FSMA) and does it apply to me?
If you operate a farm business that grows and sells fresh produce—and/or processes, packs, manufactures, or holds food, your business may be affected by FSMA. Some businesses may not be affected at all, some may be affected by one rule, and some may be affected by both rules. See the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition website for an overview of FSMA and how it applies to small and medium-sized farms, as well as up-to-date information on FSMA. Below is information to help you understand food safety on your farm and to see how your farm might be affected. There are also templates for developing a food-safety plan.
Food Safety Modernization Act Timeline
December 2014 - This was the last opportunity for public comment on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act produce safety rules. After this date, thre rules entered the finalization and implementation stage.
September 2015 - The FDA final "Preventive Controls Rule" was published, setting forth new requirements and updating existing requirements for facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold human food. After the rule was published the implementation stage began.
November 2015 - The FDA final "Produce Safety Rule" was published. This rule establishes science-based standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce. It applies to farm operations that grow produce that is primarily consumed raw (i.e., it does not apply to winter squash or potatoes).
ATTRA Resources Related to On-Farm Food Safety(In English and Spanish)
An Illustrated Guide to Growing Safe Produce on Your Farm - IP382
PDF Price: $3.95 for non-members
• Summary • Buy PDF
• Buy Print Copy
Guía Ilustrada para Producir Alimentos Seguros en su Granja: Buenas Prácticas Agrícolas - SP382
PDF Price: FREE
• Summary • Download PDF
• Buy Print Copy
Tutorial - Implementing and Developing a Food Safety Plan on Your Farm (coming soon!)
Case Studies - How real farmers are implementing their food safety plans. (coming soon!)
What Does FSMA Mean for Farmers?
More information and a full flowchart can be downloaded via this link.
The Food and Drug Administration has developed a flow chart to help producers determine if they are exempt or have some qualified exemptions.View the Standards for Produce Safety here
Templates for Developing Food-Safety Plans
Penn State Food Safety Plan Template
A sample food-safety plan developed by Penn State Extension.
Food Safety Plan for You - FSP4U; University of Minnesota
Explains all components of a food-safety plan and provides food safety plan and record keeping templates.
On Farm Food Safety Project
This organization provides a free and easy-to-use online template for you to develop a food-safety plan on your farm. It prompts you to fill in only the areas that are relevant to your farm, similar to TurboTax®. Just click on the tab "Create a Food Safety Manual."
También disponsible en español.
Primus Labs Local Farmer Program
This is another online platform for developing a food-safety plan. It also has trainings for auditors and verifiers.
How to Work with Buyers Who Are Requesting Food-Safety Materials
Tipsheet on working with buyers who are asking for a GAPS plan and audit (coming soon!)
Types of Audits
- Find a third-party or USDA GAPS audit contact (map with state contact info)
- Internal audit
Use the GAPS audit checklist for conducting an internal audit.
- GAPS third-party audit
Go over the GAPS audit checklist before your audit is scheduled.
- Consider GroupGAP
The USDA GroupGAP is a farm food-safety audit program that allows producers to attain GAP certification as a group.
See the National Good Food Network fact sheet on this topic.
This page was last updated on: March 31, 2016