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Larger farms are now required to comply with the agricultural water requirements by Jan. 26, 2022, while small farms have until Jan. 26, 2023 and very small farms until Jan. 26, 2024. This rule does not change the compliance dates for sprout operations.
These compliance dates have been extended while the FDA considers how best to protect public health while addressing widespread concerns about the complexity of the agricultural water requirements and the practicality of implementing them across a wide variety of farms, water sources, and uses. The FDA intends to use this time to work with stakeholders to address these concerns.
According to a statement released from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, (who is scheduled to resign from his position next month) and Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas, “Ultimately, we’ll implement requirements that are modern, efficient, rigorous, and achievable. We remain firmly committed to science-based requirements directed to agricultural water to minimize the risk to public health. We look forward to continued engagement with stakeholders in the coming months as we further consider the path forward on agricultural water.”
While this rule extends the compliance dates for the agricultural water provisions, produce remains subject to the other provisions of the Produce Safety Rule and the adulteration provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.