Changes are coming in the way farmers grow, pack, hold and distribute ready-to-eat produce, and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is offering producers the opportunity for a free, on-farm readiness review.
Farmers who sell more than $25,000 in applicable produce per year may be subject to the new federal Produce Safety Rule. Regulatory inspections are expected to begin in mid-2019, but growers can find out now if they are ready for the changes, with time to make any necessary adjustments.
VDACS’ Produce Safety Program is partnering with Virginia Cooperative Extension to conduct the reviews, which are confidential. A VDACS produce safety specialist and an Extension agent will meet with farm management to walk through the operation. A review typically takes two hours and is designed to help answer farmers’ questions about the Produce Safety Rule.
To schedule a review, visit vdacs.virginia.gov/food-produce-safety.shtml or call 804-786-4003. To learn more about the Produce Safety Rule, visit fda.gov.