New produce safety website provides information for pre-inspection reviews

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A new website has been launched by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to provide essential information for producers about the inspections that are required by federal law.

The site provides information and frequently asked questions concerning the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the Produce Safety Rule and Compliance and Enforcement, Grower Training and Third-Party Audit Training, and includes a Produce Safety Rule survey.

Along with the Food and Drug Administration compliance timelines and other information about FSMA and the Produce Safety Rule, the website also features links for what to expect during a regulatory inspection, records required by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, an inspection checklist, grower and third-party audit training courses and an on-farm readiness review. There is also a link to a survey for those who grow, harvest, store and pack produce.

“This website will help answer questions and provide essential information for producers about the inspections that are required by federal law,” Douglas Fisher, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture, said in an announcement about the site. “We have been the leader in the country in produce safety inspections under FSMA and that has allowed us to interact with farmers to help them better understand the process and to provide assurances to all who purchase fruits and vegetables in the Garden State.”

One of the key aspects of the program is the Produce Safety Rule, which establishes science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption.

The website features a calendar that includes training dates, grower/industry meetings and events. The site also includes a page for any news that may be important to the industry.

The FDA has finalized seven major rules to implement FSMA, recognizing that ensuring the safety of the food supply is a shared responsibility among many different points in the global supply chain for both human and animal food. Mandated by Congress, the FSMA rules are designed to make clear specific actions that must be taken at each of these points to prevent contamination.

The Produce Safety website can be found here.

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