Today’s Topic: On-farm readiness reviews help farmers get ready for new federal food safety rules

By on March 28, 2017

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is taking part in a program to help produce farmers get ready for new federal food safety requirements. North Carolina is among a handful of states that are piloting a program of on-farm readiness reviews. The voluntary, non-regulatory program is designed to provide valuable information to farmers.

As part of the pilot, members of the department’s staff, along with staff from FDA and N.C. State University, recently visited two North Carolina farms. They looked at the farms’ production processes, everything from planting through harvest and final packaging.

The goal of the on-farm readiness reviews is to provide farmers with useful information so they can comply with the federal Food Safety Modernization Act. Large farms will be required to follow new federal food safety rules beginning in 2018, and smaller farms will have to comply later.

The on-farm readiness reviews are about educating before regulating, Commissioner Troxler says. They also promote coordination between farmers, regulators and educators.

Other states taking part in the pilot program include Michigan, Florida, Oregon, Washington and Vermont. The program should be fully operational nationwide in 2018. But North Carolina will begin offering them later this year so that farmers can be educated about these new rules and be ready for them when they take effect.

Click on the link below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about on-farm readiness reviews.

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Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.

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