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FDA Awards Louisiana Millions to Implement Food Safety Rule

October 19, 2016

Baton Rouge, La. (October 19, 2016) – Louisiana is one of 42 states awarded millions of dollars by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help implement the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) produce safety rule. The rule, which the FDA finalized in November 2015, establishes science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption.

“The overall goal of this project is to enhance Louisiana’s Produce Safety Programs to continue to encourage the safe production of fresh fruits and vegetables and to promote compliance with the requirements of FDA’s Produce Safety Rule,” said Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. “This project will help educate growers and will result in increased implementation of on-farm food safety practices by small, medium and large produce farms in Louisiana. This will develop a state-federal partnership for inspection, compliance and enforcement of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule as required by the law.”

The cooperative agreement between the FDA and the states provides awardees with the resources to formulate a multi-year plan to implement a produce safety system, develop and provide education, outreach and technical assistance, and develop programs to address specific needs of the growers in their farming communities.

Issues that will be addressed include water quality, applications of raw manure and how to minimize risk of contamination, health and hygiene training for farm personnel who handle fresh produce and sanitation of equipment, tools and buildings.

States and territories were eligible based on the estimated number of farms growing produce within their jurisdictions. The funding opportunity is for five years, subject to the availability of funding from Congress. Louisiana was awarded $3.625 million which includes LSU and Southern AgCenters as sub awardees.

Larger farms will need to comply with certain aspects of the produce safety rule requirements beginning in January 2018, with smaller produce operations having additional time to comply.