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Produce Safety Rule


The Produce Safety Rule under the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law in 2011, is now in effect. The rule focuses on regulatory standards for the production, harvest, and handling of fruits and vegetables, in an effort to prevent microbial contamination and reduce foodborne illnesses associated with fresh produce.

Refer to the Food and Drug Administration’s Standards for Produce Safety Exemptions/Inclusions worksheet to figure out if your farm/operation is covered under the rule.

Use our exemption decision tool below to assist in figuring out if your farm/operation is eligible for total exemption or qualified exemptions. Please be aware that if you are eligible for qualified exemptions, you still need to maintain the appropriate paperwork that is required under an exemption status.

Refer here for a video from the Produce Safety Alliance on what exempt farmer’s should know about the Produce Safety Rule.


Produce Safety Grower Training

“Education before and while Regulation” is the motto that the FDA and cooperating states have adopted. The Produce Safety Rule requires that at least one individual from every covered farm receive training under a FDA recognized curriculum. Currently, the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training course satisfies that requirement. Any farm which produces over $25,000 in average annual produce sales of fresh fruits and vegetables may be potentially covered under the Produce Safety Rule: making this course mandatory per 21 CFR Section 112.22(c). This course is a collaboration between Cornell University, FDA and USDA to assist produce growers in meeting the regulatory requirements of the Produce Safety Rule under FSMA. This training is divided into several parts:

  • Worker health, hygiene and training;
  • Agricultural water (for both production and post-harvest uses) – Approved Water Testing Methods, List of Water Testing Facilities in Delaware;
  • Biological soil amendments;
  • Domesticated and wild animals;
  • Equipment, tools, building, and sanitation; and
  • Production of sprouts.

**As of January 28, 2019; any farm covered under the Produce Safety Rule, with over $250,000 in average annual produce sales is required to be in compliance with the federal regulations.  If you fall within the previously mentioned sales category and have not taken the training course, you are currently out of compliance.


On-Farm Readiness Reviews

The Delaware Department of Agriculture, in partnership with University of Delaware Extension, are performing On-Farm Readiness Reviews. On-Farm Readiness Reviews are voluntary, confidential, free, non-regulatory, on-farm assessments designed to help the grower gauge their readiness for the Produce Safety Rule prior to an inspection.  All notes that are take during these reviews are left on farm.  More information about these reviews can be found below.  If you are interested in an On-Farm Readiness Review please contact: DE.ProduceSafety@delaware.gov

What to Expect During an On-Farm Readiness Review in Delaware


Farm Inventory

As part of the Produce Safety Rule, the Delaware Department of Agriculture is required to collect aggregate data on farms. By completing this survey, your responses will enable us to establish a farm inventory and determine the number of farms that are covered under the Produce Safety Rule.

Produce Safety Rule Grower Registration


Farm Inspection

Beginning this spring, 2019, the Delaware Department of Agriculture will begin performing regulatory inspections; on behalf of FDA, of produce farms with over $500,000 in gross annual produce sales.  Refer to the compliance date chart to determine when your farm will become subject to ta regulator inspection.  Since this is the first time farms have been subject to regulatory inspections, these inspections will be treated highly educational at first.  In addition, all inspections will be scheduled, unless there is an outstanding condition.  Refer to the “What to Expect during an Inspection” document below to gain a better understanding of what to expect.

Compliance Dates (2018-2020):

chart of compliance dates


Recording Keeping

In an effort to assist the grower in implementation of the Produce Safety Rule on their farm, the Produce Safety Alliance has put together a Records Required by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule: Fact Sheet.  Click here to download the FSMA Produce Safety Rule:  Templates for PSR records.


Additional Training Opportunities

Registration Open United Fresh Recall Ready Workshop
Date:  January 22, 2020 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, 1131 North DuPont Highway, Dover
Registration closes January 10th

Details: The Recall Ready Workshop is a one-day, hands-on training that will help you and your company understand the fundamentals of a product recall, including your rights and responsibilities, the role of FDA or state regulatory agencies, how to limit your liability and how to manage customer expectations. You’ll also get an in-dept look how to effectively communicate to the industry, customers, consumers and the media with the proper communications plan.

Cost: The Delaware Department of Agriculture will cover the cost of attending with registration. Breakfast and Lunch will be provided.


Additional Resources


If you are interested in Produce Safety Alliance training or an On-Farm Readiness Review, please contact DE.ProduceSafety@delaware.gov or Anna Wicks at 302-698-4500 or email anna.wicks@delaware.gov.

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