Vermont Farmers Share Feedback on Proposed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) with FDA Reps

Contacts:

Shelley Mehlenbacher – shelley.mehlenbacher@state.vt.us or 802-828-2421
Abbey Willard – abbey.willard@state.vt.us or 802-828-3829

 

Ag Officials Coordinate Listening Session and Farm Visits

Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) and the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food co-hosted a Listening Session on Tuesday, August 20th, 2013, in Hanover, NH, in the Alumni Hall Auditorium in the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College, to offer farmers and food processors an opportunity to get clarification on proposed rules under the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and make statements during the 3 hour session.

Additionally, representatives from FDA attended a VAAFM organized day long tour of Vermont farms and food processors. The tours and one-on-one discussions provided Vermont producers the opportunity to express their opinions and share their concerns about the proposed FSMA rules while also educating FDA representatives about Vermont’s unique food system.

VAAFM Secretary Chuck Ross stated that “The visit demonstrated the FDA’s willingness to listen to producers and processors. It was also an opportunity for the FDA to learn about the challenges the proposed rules pose to Vermont’s community-based agriculture.”

FSMA, the most sweeping reform of our nation’s food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. FSMA aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. The first two of five rules under FSMA were proposed this January. Public comments are due November 13, 2013.

The Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce rule proposes enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms. The Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food rule would require makers of food to be sold in the United States, whether produced at a foreign- or domestic-based facility, to develop a formal plan for preventing food products from causing food borne illness. A full copy of the proposed rules is available for viewing through the following links:

All growers, manufacturers, and anyone interested in fresh produce safety and manufacturing of human food is encouraged to comment on the proposed rules. The comment period will remain open until November 15, 2013. There are two ways to submit comments to FDA:

1)     Comment electronically at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0921

2)     Written comments may be faxed to the FDA at 301-827-6870 or you may mail them to:

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)

Food and Drug Administration

5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061

Rockville, MD 20852