Make Our Food Safe

Frequently Asked Questions


Small Farms and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

 

Does the FSMA outlaw home gardens and family farms?

Does the FSMA give the FDA new authority to inspect farms?

Does the FSMA change FDA and USDA jurisdiction?

Does the FSMA direct FDA to develop “one-size-fits-all” produce safety standards? 

Does the FSMA require farms to register with the FDA?

Does the FSMA charge farms new registration fees?

Does the FSMA include new recordkeeping requirements for farms?

Does the FSMA require farms to establish elaborate “traceback” systems for produce?

Does the FSMA outlaw traditional organic growing methods?

Does the FSMA criminalize seed savings?

Does the FSMA bring everyone who grows any food under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security?

Does the FSMA imprison people who sell raw milk?

Does the FSMA require American food producers or farmers to be subject to WHO rules, UN food safety standards, or the Codex Alimentarius?

 

Does the FSMA outlaw home gardens and family farms? NO.

  • The FSMA does not outlaw home gardens or family farms. In fact, the bill explicitly states that the produce standards "shall not apply to produce that is produced by an individual for personal consumption."
  • In addition, the bill contains an exemption from produce safety regulations for many small farms, which was purposefully included to protect America’s family farms. Small farms that market most of their sales directly to consumers and certain retailers and restaurants and have less than $500,000 in annual sales are exempt from the produce safety standards.

 

Does the FSMA give the FDA new authority to inspect farms? NO.

The FSMA increases inspections only for registered food processing facilities, not farms.

 

Does the FSMA change FDA and USDA jurisdiction? NO.  Only foods already regulated by the FDA Administration (FDA) are subject to the FSMA; it maintains the existing firewall between FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the regulation of foods and agricultural products.

 

Does the FSMA direct FDA to develop “one-size-fits-all” produce safety standards?  NO.

  • In coordination with the Secretary of Agriculture, FDA is directed to develop “science-based standards” that are “commodity specific” and “scale appropriate.”
  • Priority is given to specific fruits and vegetables that have the highest risk of food borne illness outbreaks.
  • Flexibility is to be given for different growing, production, and harvesting techniques.
  • Under the law, FDA has the discretion to limit produce safety standards for small and very small entities that produce or harvest food that pose little or no serious risk to human health.
  • Consideration is also given to conservation and environmental standards already established by federal natural resource and wildlife agencies.
  • FDA must minimize the burden of paperwork and, as appropriate, the number of separate standards for separate foods.

 

Does the FSMA require farms to register with the FDA? NO.

Under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, certain food businesses were considered "facilities" and had to register with FDA. Farms and restaurants were exempted. This definition is not changed in the FSMA. If an entity does not need to register before enactment of the FSMA, it does not need to register under the FSMA.

 

Does the FSMA charge farms new registration fees? NO.

The FSMA does not charge registration fees of any kind.

 

Does the FSMA include new recordkeeping requirements for farms? NO.

The FSMA does not require that farms keep any new food safety-related records. 

 

Does the FSMA require farms to establish elaborate “traceback” systems for produce? NO.

The FSMA only requires FDA, in coordination with the food industry, to establish pilot projects to test and evaluate new methods for rapidly and effectively tracking and tracing food products. Once these pilot projects are evaluated, FDA is directed to propose regulations for high-risk foods (in approximately two years).  The law requires that FDA ensures that the methods and requirements for any traceback system are appropriate for small businesses, and exempts or limits requirements for farms and other entities.

 

Does the FSMA outlaw traditional organic growing methods? NO.

Section 105 of the FSMA explicitly states that new produce safety standards cannot "include any requirements that conflict with or duplicate the requirements of the national organic program."

 

Does the FSMA criminalize seed savings? NO.

The FSMA does not create any new rules in regard to the practice of saving seeds for use from year to year, and does not outlaw, criminalize, or require any specific agricultural or growing practice.

 

Does the FSMA bring everyone who grows any food under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security? NO.

The FSMA maintains the same food safety jurisdiction that exists under current law.

 

Does the FSMA imprison people who sell raw milk? NO.

The FSMA does not establish any restrictions on the sale of raw milk.

 

Does the FSMA require American food producers or farmers to be subject to WHO rules, UN food safety standards, or the Codex Alimentarius? NO.

The FSMA does not require the adoption of any international standards. It does requires the FDA to come up with a plan to work with foreign countries that import food into the United States ensure that Americans who purchase imported products can be assured of their safety.

 

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