Getting the Rug Pulled Out From Under Us: Farmers react to FDA’s revised ag water rule
The Agricultural Water Rule, part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, establishes microbial quality standards for agriculture and irrigation water. This is an effort to keep pathogens out of foods typically eaten raw, like fruits or vegetables.
Now, the FDA clarified the proposed rule only applies if ag water contacts the harvestable portion of a plant. Water used during or after harvest is not included. Produce farms covered by the rule will need to self-evaluate their water source, irrigation methods, and other environmental conditions.
Farmers speaking in opposition say this will create a long learning curve and essentially require them to be risk assessors on top of running a farm.