California Launches Food Safety Website
A new website has been launched by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to help California growers understand how to comply with new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations known as the Produce Safety Rule, which went into effect nationwide in January.
The website introduces users to the Produce Safety Program, a newly created unit operating under CDFA’s Inspection Services Division. The Produce Safety Program is responsible for conducting on-farm inspections on behalf of the FDA to verify compliance with the Produce Safety Rule among California fruit, vegetable, and nut farmers.
“It’s estimated some 20,000 California produce farms are covered under this new regulation,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “The job of bringing these farms into compliance with the Produce Safety Rule is a very large task, and CDFA is committed to working with farmers to give them the information they need.”
The FDA has determined that on-farm inspections to verify compliance with the Produce Safety Rule will not begin until 2019. This gives CDFA time to begin getting the word out to farmers about how to comply with the new regulation.
Via the website, produce farms and industry members can join a mailing list to receive regular updates from the Produce Safety Program.
“The Produce Safety Program plans to spend the coming year doing everything possible to inform and educate California produce farmers about the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule,” said Natalie Krout-Greenberg, CDFA’s director of Inspection Services. “CDFA’s vision is for 100% compliance with the Produce Safety Rule. Our hope is that required food safety practices will become ingrained in the culture of California produce farming so that our state continues to grow the safest produce possible.”