An On-Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) is a non-regulatory, free assessment of a farm’s readiness for inspection under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. This is an opportunity for an individualized one-on-one conversation and farm walk-around with the Produce Safety Program from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets and Produce Safety Specialists from University of Vermont (UVM) Extension. The reviewers will evaluate pre-harvest, harvest, and post-harvest conditions and practices. They will also assess what you are doing well and identify areas for improvement in food safety practices on your farm.
Preparing for an On-Farm Readiness Review
We highly recommend that at least one person from your farm complete the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training Course before scheduling an OFRR. The PSA Grower Training will provide you with essential background knowledge about the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and recommended produce safety practices that will help you to get the most out of the OFRR. In addition, this training satisfies the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement for covered farms that "at least one supervisor or responsible party" completes "food safety training … recognized as adequate” by FDA (21 C.F.R. §112.22(c)). Before the OFRR, review the PSA Grower Training Manual from the Grower Training Course and your farm’s food safety plan. Write down any questions you have ahead of time.
What happens during an On-Farm Readiness Review?
Reviewers will begin by asking a series of questions to better understand your farm’s food safety plans, produce safety practices, and general farm procedures.
Reviewers will ask to view different areas of the farm to understand your farm’s harvesting, washing, and packing processes as well storage or holding areas.
At the end of the visit, reviewers will provide feedback on observations and identify priority areas for improvement in produce safety practices on your farm. Any notes taken during the review will be left with you on the farm.
UVM Extension staff can provide additional technical assistance based on the feedback from your OFRR. This may involve sharing follow-up information or scheduling additional farm visits and support.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I sign up?
An On-Farm Readiness Review is for the benefit of any farm that grows and/or sells produce. The OFRR will identify areas for produce safety improvements, to help you prepare for a FSMA Produce Safety Rule inspection (if applicable), and to help you grow produce safety practices on your farm. Reviewers are not there to conduct an audit, inspection, or any type of regulatory assessment. The OFRR serves as a supportive, direct educational opportunity for growers and producers. All notes taken by the reviewers will be left with the farm at the end of the visit so farmers can make informed decisions on their farm.
If you are looking for guidance on how to prepare your farm for a Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule (21 CFR § 112) inspection or are interested in growing produce safety on your farm, an On-Farm Readiness Review is right for you!
How long does an OFRR take?
An On-Farm Readiness Review will take approximately one and a half to three hours, depending on the size and complexity if your farm.
How do I sign up?
Contact the Vermont Produce Program at AGR.Produce@vermont.gov or (802) 828-2433 to sign up or to learn more about On-Farm Readiness Reviews.