The Standards for Growing, Harvesting, Packing and Holding Produce for Human Consumption--the proposed produce safety rule--is now available for public comment, according to a notice published in the Federal Register by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There will also be a public meeting on the subject. The goal of the proposed safety rule is to implement the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act, which mandates the creation of a prevention-based, modern food safety system to protect consumers from foodborne illnesses.

Otherwise known as Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the proposal focuses on four key areas of the rule that could have profound effects on the environment:

  1. The definition of “covered farms”
  2. Water quality standards (could potentially have a significant adverse environmental impact)
  3. The use of raw manure and compost
  4. Provisions affecting domesticated and wild animals

The FDA estimates that the rule, if implemented as proposed, would prevent an estimated 1.57 million foodborne illnesses each year.

Public Meeting Details:
Tuesday February 10, 2015, 1 pm to 4 pm EST
Harvey W. Wiley Federal Building, Wiley Auditorium
5100 Paint Branch Parkway
College Park, MD 20740

The comment period will last for 60 days, from Monday January 12, 2015 through Friday March 13, 2015. The FDA currently has no plans to extend this comment period.