Health Policy Update

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April 6, 2017

In accordance with the Food Safety Modernization Act, FDA recently released its Final Rule on Produce Safety, establishing evidence-based standards for safely growing, harvesting, packing, and holding fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. The rule creates a new regulatory floor for state produce safety programs, which means that states will want to analyze their current regulatory structure and make any needed changes to ensure it aligns with the new rule. While most of the state programs that will implement the new produce safety rule are in state agriculture departments, a few states will administer the programs through their health agencies (e.g., Indiana, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island). During the 2017 legislative season, several states are working towards aligning their programs with the new rule. For example, some states are looking to broadly authorize their agriculture departments to implement, administer, and enforce federal provisions (CT HB 6333, GA HB 176, MT HB 91, NM HB 305, OR SB 18, TX HB 3227, and TX SB 1668), while others are specifying produce safety definitions, exemptions, and procedures for inspections and product seizure (SC H 4003, VA SB 1195, LA SB 126, MA H 72). ASTHO, in partnership with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and others, will continue to monitor state implementation of the new produce safety rule and assist states as they align laws and regulations to meet federal requirements.