In the August/September 2017 issue of
Food Safety Magazine, Dr. Jim Gorny, PMA and Dr. Jennifer McEntire, United Fresh Produce Association co-authored an article focused on the FSMA Produce Safety Rule’s agricultural water requirements, and urged FDA to reevaluate and simplify the current FSMA Produce Safety rule agricultural water provisions. Through the article, they define what is Agricultural Water, explain the methods for monitoring and testing the microbial quality of agricultural water, and discuss current industry practices. They strongly suggest that the current FSMA Produce Safety rule agricultural water provisions have simply missed the mark and need to be amended to truly be science and risk based. There simply is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and more data, situation-specific information and knowledge are needed. However, this is not to say that produce farmers should do nothing.
The current provisions need to be amended, because as currently formulated, they are overly prescriptive, cannot be practically implemented by most farms and provide limited value in protecting public health. A more flexible approach that incorporates new science and technology, such as the use of metagenomics, to better characterize agricultural water source and distribution system microbial quality is the only viable solution going forward. Everyone agrees that agricultural water needs to be of appropriate quality for its intended purpose. However, how that is measured does and will vary based on situation specifics of a particular water source and distribution system.
Read the full article here on Food Safety Magazine.