VT Agency of Ag Announces New Online FSMA Decision Tree Tool for Farmers

Agency Estimates Over 500 VT Farms will be Impacted by FSMA Produce Safety Rule

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) has launched a new online decision tree tool to help farmers determine whether a farm is subject to the Produce Safety Rule. The tool  may be accessed here or taken over the phone by calling (802) 522-7811.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule will impact farms that grow, harvest, pack or hold fresh produce for human consumption and that have annual produce sales of greater than $25,000. The rule was finalized in November 2015 and became effective on January 26, 2016. VAAFM estimates that at least 150 Vermont farms will be fully covered under the rule and will need to meet all of the rule's requirements. An additional 400 farms are likely to be eligible for a "qualified exemption" under the Produce Safety Rule, which subjects them to modified requirements including recordkeeping and labeling.

VAAFM has worked closely with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, UVM Extension, and the Vermont Vegetable & Berry Growers Association, among other key partners, to conduct FSMA outreach, education, provide technical assistance, and develop an implementation plan that is feasible for local farms.

VAAFM will also hold three workshops on (FSMA) final rules on March 31 in Montpelier, April 4 in Burlington, and April 5 in Rutland. These workshops will provide an overview of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, which affects farms that grow, harvest, pack or hold fresh produce. The April 4 workshop, co-hosted by the Vermont Department of Health, will also cover the FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food rule, which affects food processors.

Workshop dates and times are listed below:

FSMA Produce Safety Rule & Program Development Workshop

March 31, 2016 | 2:00-4:00 PM | Pavilion Auditorium | 109 State Street, Montpelier

 

             FSMA Preventive Controls & Produce Safety Rule Workshop

*Co-hosted by the Vermont Department of Health*

April 4, 2016 | 2:00-4:00 PM | Vermont Department of Health | 108 Cherry Street, Burlington

 

             FSMA Produce Safety Rule & Program Development Workshop

April 5, 2016 | 5:30-7:30 pm | Rutland Free Library | 10 Court Street, Rutland

Click here for more information about FSMA and produce safety at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture or contact Kristina Sweet, Produce Program Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, (802) 522-7811, AGR.FSMA@vermont.gov.