March 30, 2016 - 12:41pm --

In an effort to reduce the frequency of foodborne illness outbreaks associated with contaminated produce, the Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law in January 2011. Two years later the act’s Produce Safety Rule was proposed. Since then fruit and vegetable growers have been waiting for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to finalize the regulations growers will be expected to follow on their farms.

Now, the FDA has finalized the regulations and the final Produce Safety rule was printed in the Federal Register on Nov. 27, 2015.

On March 29th thirty five local fruit and vegetable producers met at the Fairfield County Agriculture Center to learn more about the Food Modernization Safety Act and how it will affect them as growers. The meeting was sponsored by Ohio Farm Bureau and OSU Extension.

Terri Gerhardt – Chief - Division of Food Safety with the Ohio Department of Agriculture was the featured speaker. Following Terri’s presentation a panel consisting of Terri, Deb Kilbarger and Kevin Barlow from the Fairfield County Health Department and Garrett Guillozet (Franklin County Health Department) held a one hour question and answer session.

Participants learned that many aspects of the new law will not take effect until 2017 – 2019. Chief Gerhardt explained that ODA will approach the law by educating farmers through a series of meetings to be held in each county. OSU Extension will continue to offer educational programming about the new law as more details become available.

OSU Extension attorney Peggy Hall has posted additional information about the new Food Modernization Safety Act under this link.