The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed a rule to extend the agricultural water compliance dates that are part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). If the rule is finalized, it would provide an additional two to four years to the original compliance dates.
The new agricultural water compliance dates that are being proposed calls for the largest farms to comply by January 26, 2022. Small farms would have until January 26, 2023, and very small farms would have until January 26, 2024, before compliance is required. The FDA has no intention of enforcing the agricultural water requirements for produce other than sprouts while deliberation over the proposed rule is underway.
The proposed rule is currently open for public comment. The additional time that would be provided by the extended compliance dates will allow the FDA to engage farmers, state regulatory partners and other stakeholders on the diversity of water usage. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., announced that the agency will be working to address the concerns raised regarding the complexity and feasibility of the implementation of the agricultural water requirements.
A summit to address the practicality and efficacy of agricultural water standards is also being planned for early 2018. More information will become available later in the year.