The Food Safety Modernization Act

The Produce Safety rule establishes, for the first time, science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. The rule is part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to implement the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. The final rule went into effect January 26, 2016.

In 2015, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture received a Cooperative Agreement Program award to establish a Produce Safety and Inspection Program in West Virginia. Working under the mandate of “educate while and during regulating” and developing a food safety culture concept at the state level are important components of the West Virginia program and serve as the mission for the programs, teams, technical assistance and resources provide to West Virginia growers, harvesters, packers and warehousers of WV Grown produce.


Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

FSMA puts greater emphasis on preventing food-borne illness from farm to table. The reasoning is simple: the better the food system handles producing, processing, transporting and preparing foods, the safer our food supply will be. With an average of 48 million (one in six Americans) getting sick, and 3,000 Americans dying from food-borne diseases annually, the FDA is clear about one thing - to keep consumers safe, the food industry needs to shift its focus from reactive to preventive. Every year, 12.3 percent of all food safety outbreaks are traced to fresh produce, and two percent are traced to practices on farms – that’s 960,000 illnesses per year traced to on-farm practices or conditions.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is considered to be the most sweeping reform of food safety laws in more than 70 years. Signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011, it directs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to shift the focus away from merely responding to contamination events toward establishing systems to prevent them from occurring. Seven regulations were written under the law, each of which will affect the vast and complex food production, processing, and distribution network that provides consumers with an uninterrupted supply of safe, nutritious, and affordable food. One of these regulations, “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption,” is of critical importance to growers of fresh produce. Known more simply as the “Produce Safety Rule,” this regulation establishes, for the first time, science-based minimum food safety standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, and sprouts intended for human consumption.

This webpage was made possible by Grant Number 5U18FD005898 from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The contents of this webpage are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the FDA.