YUMA, Ariz. - In this week's Home Grown we learn about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and how our local agriculture community is helping to pave the way in food safety standards for the United States.
“You have a group of people that work very very hard to produce and to be the winter vegetable capital of the world," the Assistant in Extension and Research for the University of Arizona, Natalie Brassill told 13 On Your Side.
Brassill visit Yuma, Arizona on a regular basis to teach growers how to take water tests. She also helps them understand what the generic E. Coli bacteria measurements are in their water and makes sure that it is meeting standards.
During our conversation, Brassill explained the FSMA.
“The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the first national standard set by the Food and Drug Administration for the United States regarding food safety," she said.
Signed into law in 2011, this covers animal food like dog and cat food, human food and processed food.
“You’ll see now that milk and gluten in products have to be labeled because we have a lot of people in the united states who might be allergic to those things and it’s really important for our food providers to give us all of the information … not only a nutritional label but also a content label and so that’s now a requirement by federal law," she said.
Within the act, there is a section called the Produce Safety Rule, which is specific for growers who grow vegetables, fruits and nuts. This section has a direct impact on our community. In fact, our community is what pioneered this new rule.
“Now our growers here in Yuma have been following the Leafy Green Marketing Agreement for about 12 years, which is an agreement that growers want to have a high quality of food safety so with the partnership of the Arizona Department of Agriculture and the growing community here, they’ve worked together to create a really high standard of food safety and so that was actually an example for our federal government, for the FDA to go off of to design the Produce Safety Rule," she said. "Yuma growers are leaders in food safety for our nation," she added.
This rule went into affect in 2016 but now, in 2018 all growers across the country must comply. The rule includes worker health and hygiene, animal intrusion and soil amendments.
Currently, there is another rule pending that would go under the Produce Safety Rule. This is the AG Water Rule, which hopes to set more standards on water safety. This rule wouldn't go into affect until 2022.
Click Link for Interview with Natalie Brassill