FSMA Produce Safety Inspections: What to Expect


The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed in 2011 to help prevent foodborne illness outbreaks. Under the FSMA rules are the Preventive Controls Rule (PCR) which covers processors/handlers and the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) which covers farms. The PSR is being implemented in stages between 2019 and 2021 depending on farm size.

In California, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is contracting with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to conduct the on-farm inspections to verify FSMA compliance. CDFA has created the Produce Safety Program (PSP) to educate and assist growers in complying with PSR requirements.

Impact on Walnut Growers

All farms covered under the Produce Safety Rule must take several steps to comply with its requirements. Key steps include at least one farm representative complete an FDA-recognized Produce Safety Rule Grower Training Course. This training, in turn, will inform how to implement required Produce Safety Rule food safety practices on your farm and any documentation that is needed.

The Grower Training need only be taken once. The California Walnut Board (CWB) sponsored complementary grower trainings for the last three years. And while CWB has concluded the complementary trainings, CDFA is currently offering low cost, subsidized training courses throughout the state, a list of which can be found here,


Growers can also participate in an on-farm readiness review inspections, a ‘mock inspection’ if you will, to help them understand PSR requirements and get ready for the official inspection. CDFA has clarified that any farm inspection will always be announced. If growers wish to receive updates about Produce Safety program, they can sign up here: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/producesafety/mailinglist.html

For additional PSR related questions, growers can also email: producesafety@cdfa.ca.gov.

(Source: California Department of Food and Agriculture Produce Safety Program: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/producesafety/)