Food Safety Modernization Act information page for farmers and food businesses

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For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Contact: Ron Dyer, 287-7522

Food Safety Modernization Act
information page for farmers and food businesses 

Information on the most significant change in food safety in 50 years

AUGUSTA – Officials at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry (DACF) have announced that a new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) information webpage has been created for farmers and food producers seeking information on significant federal changes to food safety regulations.

"Although the US Congress passed sweeping federal law changes 4 years ago, the rules that actually impact farmers are still being developed in Washington, DC," said Commissioner Walt Whitcomb. “This dedicated page on the DACF website provides food producers access to the most recent proposals as they are promulgated. FSMA is designed to prevent food borne illness by focusing on preventative controls and we want that information available as fast as possible. Because of the impact these federal changes will have on farmers and food businesses, we are taking steps to help ensure everyone has the latest information.” 

The new FSMA page created by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry will provide up-to-date information as changes occur and focus on how these changes will affect farmers and businesses. Users may utilize a tool on the site to assess any potential FSMA impact on their farm or food business. They can also sign up for email alerts as new information is released.

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

The Federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law in 2011, is the first significant overhaul of food safety regulations since the 1930s and was designed to prevent food borne illness. FSMA will be implemented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and relevant state agencies.

In December 2014, FDA concluded the second of two comment periods on draft rules it has written to implement the law. There are seven FSMA rules covering everything from human food to pet food to imports to transportation.

Will FSMA Affect You?

The webpage has a useful flowchart, developed by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, that helps farms and food businesses figure which rules apply to them and how.

The FSMA Reproposal

During the first public comment period in 2013, tens of thousands of farmers and others expressed many concerns about the produce rule impacting farms and the preventive controls rule impacting facilities that manufacture, process, pack and hold food. FDA agreed to revise specific parts of the rules to offer alternatives for provisions that raised the most concern.

Maine DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb and the Department hosted a listening session with FDA officials from Washington D.C. and took them to see real Maine farms during August 2013. These sessions and farm visits provided significant input to FDA's draft rules.

FSMA Updates

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Division of Quality Assurance and Regulations will continue to monitor FDA rule making and provide information at this site about FSMA next steps, including the final rules, implementation information and compliance dates, training opportunities, and whatever else small farms and food producers in Maine need to know.

The new Department FSMA Page is located at: