Skip to main content

FSMA food safety updates - inspections have begun and upcoming trainings

This summer the first farm inspections began under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule for the largest farms in the state. The inspections, conducted by The Minnesota Department of Agriculture Produce Safety Program, are announced and are held during the growing and harvest season. Inspections on small and very small farms, as defined by the rule, will begin in spring of 2020 and spring of 2021 respectively.

As a reminder, the Produce Safety Rule is part of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The rule sets, for the first time, science-based standards for growing fruits and vegetables for human consumption.  Fruit and vegetable farmers that grow, pack, harvest and/or hold produce and that do not qualify for an exemption or exclusion from the Produce Safety Rule are required to have one person attend a standardized food safety training. 
To learn more about if your farm is covered by the rule, see this factsheet.  
The MDA produce safety program staff states: “Inspections will be scheduled in advance with produce farmers and our intention is to focus first on education before we would regulate,” said Valerie Gamble, Manager of the MDA Produce Safety Program. The University of Minnesota works closely with the MDA program to roll out education, inspections and assistance for growers in Minnesota related to the produce safety rule. 

UMN Extension and MDA Produce Safety Program will once again host the standardized FSMA grower trainings this winter around the state. The trainings are led by UMN Extension staff as well as trained produce farmers. They are a great way to not only meet the requirement of the law (if the rule applies to your farm), but also to learn tips and information about practical ways to bring safe food handling into your farm from other farmers. Our farmer trainers have years of experience using these practices, and can speak to the benefits of integrating food safety into your operation. We talk about equipment, tools, training, and more to make your farm more efficient and keep your customers safe. 
Monitor the MDA website and the U of M Extension website for upcoming class announcements, and this newsletter. Workshop dates and locations will be announced in early October and will start in early December of 2019 and go through April 2020. The workshop is one day and costs $35, lunch included. The certificate of attendance from the Association of Food and Drug Officials is good for life.
To learn more about MDA Produce Safety inspections, view the What to Expect- FSMA Produce Safety Rule Inspection Process  or contact the MDA’s Produce Safety Program at 651-539-3648. 

Print Friendly and PDF