FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most sweeping reform of food safety laws in more than 70 years. FSMA's Produce Safety Rule provides the first-ever mandatory federal standard for the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fresh produce, including nuts. The rule focuses on efforts to reduce risks associated with microbial contamination at the farm level.
However, based on the March 28, 2019, FDA Enforcement Guidance, almond growers and huller/shellers are no longer subject to Produce Safety requirements and do not have to make any disclosures as long as the FDA's Enforcement Guidance remains in effect.
FDA announced they are using enforcement discretion for several commodities covered under Produce Safety regulations and will not expect those commodities to comply with Produce Safety requirements. Specifically, FDA will not expect entities which grow, harvest, pack or hold almonds to meet any of the Produce Safety regulation requirements. FDA has indicated that they intend to address the unique situation of each commodity listed in the notice through future rulemaking.
The Enforcement Policy Guidance issued by FDA calls out almonds specifically, therefore recognizing the effectiveness of the industry’s food safety programs. The almond industry has taken a proactive role in food safety since 2001, culminating in the mandatory program for Salmonella reduction in almonds – effective September 2007 – and continuing through the continued diligence that industry members have demonstrated regarding food safety over the past two decades.
Growers and huller/shellers with questions regarding FDA’s Enforcement Policy Guidance are encouraged to contact Tim Birmingham, director of Quality Assurance and Industry Services at the Almond Board, at firstname.lastname@example.org.