The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is offering On-Farm Readiness Reviews (OFRRs) for small and very small farms. OFRRs are meant to help producers better understand the requirements set forth by the Produce Safety Rule. Director of Regulatory Affairs and Food Safety for the Western Agricultural Processors Association, Priscilla Rodriguez said the readiness reviews are a great resource for producers.
“On-Farm Readiness Reviews are a voluntary mock inspection that CDFA inspectors come onsite to do for growers who want to see if they’re prepared for a Produce Safety Rule inspection,” Rodriguez explained. “It’s like a cheat sheet. You get to see, are these answers correct or are they not? They will give you those recommendations. They will provide you with that information and you have the opportunity to fix it.”
Much of the OFRRs consist of conversations pertaining to procedures and practices in place addressing food safety. Inspectors will be able to answer specific questions pertaining to individual farming operations. OFRRs offer producers a chance to fully understand exactly what is expected of them prior to getting an official inspection. “You get to do a freebie inspection where they’re not going to give you any type of violation, there’s no finding, there’s no fine,” Rodriguez noted.
OFRRs are being offered to farming operations with less than $500,000 in average annual sales. Produce Safety Rule regulatory inspections began for large farms in spring 2019 and are no longer eligible for OFRRs. CDFA’s Produce Safety Program has resources available for those interested in OFRRs and other information pertaining to the Produce Safety Rule.
“They are very much about educating before they regulate and CDFA has been great to work with on these On-Farm Readiness Reviews,” said Rodriguez. “So, when it does come time for an inspection you know what they want, what they’re going to see, what they’re going to ask, and you can be prepared.”
Listen to the interview below.