The Produce Safety rule, which is part of a larger set of food safety regulations recently issued by the U.S. FDA, applies to growers of produce within the U.S. This includes both traditional “fresh produce”, as well as tree nuts and dried fruit among other items. The full title of this regulation is “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption”. The FDA has provided for some exemptions within the rule for certain commodities or certain situations.
The U.S. FDA’s Produce Safety rule requires in § 112.22(c) that for each farm, “At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.” The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy this requirement; it is the only course currently recognized by FDA. The process for development and implementation of this training for the industry is outlined on the following page.
The FDA lays out their strategy for training industry with regard to FSMA here. As you can see they have laid out a strategy for appropriate individuals to become approved as trainers, and members of the Safe Food Alliance team have gained approval to conduct the training. The produce safety course is conducted with strict oversight from the Produce Safety Alliance, as laid out in the program. Training materials used come directly from the Produce Safety Alliance. Additional information about the course can be found on our web site at safefoodalliance.com/events, by clicking on one of the courses.
Regarding GAP programs and compliance with the regulation, under comment 30 of the regulation, the FDA writes: “To the extent that certification schemes or food safety programs are consistent with the produce safety regulation, then compliance with those schemes or programs could be relevant to compliance with the requirements of part 112.” Under comment 143 the FDA writes “We decline the request that FDA recognize certain commodity-specific guidelines developed by industry (such as the Citrus GAPs) as an acceptable alternative to the produce safety regulation. Alternatives are permitted for only certain of the specified requirements of part 112, specifically related to agricultural water, which are listed in § 112.49 and cross referenced in § 112.12(a), and not for all of the provisions of the produce safety regulation, in general.”