Food Safety News - Iowa State University Extension

Nearly 80 Percent of Produce Growers Will Be Exempt from New Food Safety Rule


Helena Bottemiller

According to produce industry experts, there are no real surprises in the lengthy proposed rule for produce safety, which has been widely hailed as a big step toward a preventive food safety system. For the most part, the proposal, which would for the first time mandate preventative practices across the industry, follows well known best practices and the best available science. What may surprise consumers, however, is that an estimated 79 percent of growers will be exempt from the rule once it’s finalized. There are estimated to be 190,111 domestic farms that grow produce (including 475 that grow sprouts), according to an impact analysis study conducted by FDA. Of these farms, an estimated 149,561, or nearly 79 percent, will not be covered by the produce rule because they grow products that are rarely consumed raw, make under $25,000 annually or qualify for a small farm exemption. The FDA estimates that only 40,211 produce farms and 285 sprout farms are fully covered and would have to “implement all of the standards outlined in the proposed rule.” Extrapolating from FDA’s calculations, these farms likely produce about 85 percent of the produce responsible for causing foodborne illnesses.

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Food safety news is compiled from a number of sources and is provided only for informational purposes. Accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Iowa State University. Headlines are sometimes rewritten for clarity or to fit space. Original sources are indicated whenever possible and full stories may not be posted to honor the original author copyright.