January 30, 2013
Earlier this month the Food and Drug Administration has begun implementing a new law that would tighten safety precautions on produce. The Food Safety Modernization Act’s purpose is to reduce foodborne illnesses. According to the FDA, the FSMA will prevent 1.75 million foodborne illnesses annually.
The proposed rule imposes new standards on growers for worker training and hygiene, agricultural water purity, biological soil amendments, equipment, tools and buildings. With these new standards the FDA believes it can reduce foodborne illnesses in the US.
The United Fresh Produce Association plans to host two web seminars to discuss and analyze the new food safety laws. The speakers in the first seminar will talk about the produce safety rule in general. The second seminar will focus more on how the FSMA will affect everyone in the industry. The first seminar will take place on February 7th and the second will be on the 11th.
The costs to farmers for this new law has been estimated, by the FDA, to be more than $30,000 annually for large farms and about $13,000 per year for smaller farms. The FDA estimates the cost of the legislation to domestic farms at $460 million annually and $171 million a year for foreign farms.
Net benefit was calculated to be $406 million annually. The FDA calculates the benefit from reduced foodborne illnesses to be $1.04 billion. Only time will tell if this law is truly worth the cost.
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