- Covered Produce Farm Definition
- Rule Requirements
- Education & Technical Assistance
- About the Produce Safety Rule
- Rule Updates for Covered Farms
Covered Produce Farm Definition
A covered produce farm is a farm subject to the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. In Vermont, covered produce farms undergo routine inspections conducted by an Agency of Agriculture produce safety specialist.
Covered produce farms must meet Produce Safety Rule requirements.
- Read FDA’s at-a-glance publication on Key Requirements: Final Rule on Produce Safety
- Read FDA’s Final Rule on Produce Safety*
- Read the Produce Safety Rule Draft Guidance which provides further explanation and examples of how farms can comply with rule requirements
*Contact the Agency to request a pocket-size Produce Safety Rule booklet (limited supply).
- Agricultural water
- Biological soil amendments of animal origin
- Domesticated and wild animals
- Worker training and health and hygiene
- Equipment, tools, and buildings
A produce safety specialist will reach out to schedule inspections on covered produce farms during the growing season. The inspector will ask to observe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding activities as well as required records. A farm’s first inspection is considered an initial inspection with an educational focus. After a farm’s initial inspection, routine inspections are conducted biennially (every other year). For-cause and compliance follow-up inspections may also be conducted as necessary.
Farms are encouraged to prepare for inspections by:
- Reviewing previous inspection documents and addressing any outstanding issues if applicable
- Reviewing What to Expect During a Farm Inspection
- Requesting an On-Farm Readiness Review prior to the farm’s initial inspection
- Completing the Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course
Access produce safety resources to enhance produce safety practices on your farm and to assist with regulatory compliance.
Education & Technical Assistance
Produce Program staff can provide one-on-one education and technical assistance on regulatory requirements and produce safety best practices.
About the Produce Safety Rule
The Produce Safety Rule establishes science-based minimum food safety standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables. The Rule was adopted in Vermont statutes under Title 6 Chapter 66: Produce Inspection.
Compliance dates for covered farms (other than sprout farms) went into effect beginning in January 2018 for farms with produce sales greater than $500,000, in January 2019 for farms with produce sales between $250,001 and $500,000, and in January 2020 for farms with produce sales between $25,001 and $250,000.
Rule Updates for Covered Farms
- January 2023: Harvest and post-harvest agricultural water requirements come into effect for Large covered farms (enforcement discretion ends).
- April 2022: Public comment period ended for FDA’s proposed rule on agricultural water.
- December 2021: FDA issued a proposed rule on agricultural water and announced its intention to exercise enforcement discretion for all agricultural water requirements for covered produce (other than sprouts).
- March 2019: FDA published a final rule to extend the compliance dates for agricultural water.