The produce safety inspection team is responsible for assuring that produce safety standards are followed to minimize the risk of unsafe products entering the marketplace. Produce safety specialists work directly with fruit and vegetable farms subject to the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR) (21 CFR § 112) adopted in Vermont statutes under 6 VSA Chapter 66.
Produce safety specialists are committed to an educational approach to regulating by helping explain the PSR requirements, the supporting produce safety science, and the regulatory process.
Learn more about the Produce Safety Rule here.
What to Expect During an Inspection
The inspection team will reach out to a farm to schedule the inspection during the growing season, and will ask to observe the farm’s growing, harvesting, packing, and holding activities for produce subject to the PSR (referred to as “covered produce”). Inspections involve a review of all applicable Subparts of the PSR except for Subpart E, agricultural water, which is delayed until 2022 for large farms, 2023 for small farms, and 2024 for very small farms.
A typical inspection will involve an initial interview, a walk-through and observation of farm activities, and an exit-interview where any observations made by the inspection team are reviewed with the farm’s management. Farm representatives are encouraged to ask questions throughout the inspection process.
Inspection Observations Form
The inspection team will provide the farm with a copy of an observations form at the conclusion of each inspection, even if no observations were made. This form lists potential violations of the Produce Safety Rule, but is not a final determination of compliance. A copy of the form is available for review here. This form is intended to assist the farm with identifying and implementing corrective actions and preventative measures that address produce safety concerns in a timely manner.
Resources to Prepare for Inspection
Farms are encouraged to prepare for inspections by reviewing the following resources:
- What to Expect During a Farm Inspection
- Produce Safety Alliance Grower Manual
- FDA’s Draft Guidance for Industry: Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption
- FDA’s Final Rule on Produce Safety webpages
Contact the Inspection Team
AGR.FSMA@vermont.gov (802) 622-4412