The United Fresh Produce Association (UFPA) has applauded the Food and Drug Administration for extending and clarifying of compliance dates for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), released Aug. 23 by FDA, combined with the draft guidance documents released Aug. 23-24, enabling the fresh produce industry to better understand how to comply with the applicable rules. “We appreciate that FDA heard and responded to our concerns and requests,” Tom Stenzel, president and CEO of UFPA, wrote in Food Safety News.
FDA recognizes that packinghouses should have the same amount of time to prepare for regulatory compliance regardless of whether they are located on or off a farm, Stenzel noted. The extended compliance dates for packinghouses subject to the Preventive Controls Rule, beginning Jan. 26, 2018, allows time to continue to work with FDA and the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance to develop a modified curriculum for these unique types of operations that are critical parts of the fresh produce supply chain.
With the first compliance deadline for the Preventive Controls Rule less than a month away, UFPA members continue to ask questions about which rule(s) they are subject to.
“We are hopeful that the draft guidance pertaining to industry classification for farms and facilities released Aug. 24 will provide examples that help the fresh produce industry understand which rules apply to them,” Stenzel noted.
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