21 U.S.C. § 350h - Standards for produce safety

Cite as:21 U.S.C. § 350h
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-65 (10/09/2019)
 
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(a) Proposed rulemaking

(1) In general

(A) Rulemaking

Not later than 1 year after January 4, 2011, the Secretary, in coordination with the Secretary of Agriculture and representatives of State departments of agriculture (including with regard to the national organic program established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 [ 7 U.S.C. 6501 et seq.]), and in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to establish science-based minimum standards for the safe production and harvesting of those types of fruits and vegetables, including specific mixes or categories of fruits and vegetables, that are raw agricultural commodities for which the Secretary has determined that such standards minimize the risk of serious adverse health consequences or death.

(B) Determination by Secretary

With respect to small businesses and very small businesses (as such terms are defined in the regulation promulgated under subparagraph (A)) that produce and harvest those types of fruits and vegetables that are raw agricultural commodities that the Secretary has determined are low risk and do not present a risk of serious adverse health consequences or death, the Secretary may determine not to include production and harvesting of such fruits and vegetables in such rulemaking, or may modify the applicable requirements of regulations promulgated pursuant to this section.

(2) Public input

During the comment period on the notice of proposed rulemaking under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall conduct not less than 3 public meetings in diverse geographical areas of the United States to provide persons in different regions an opportunity to comment.

(3) Content

The proposed rulemaking under paragraph (1) shall-

(A) provide sufficient flexibility to be applicable to various types of entities engaged in the production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables that are raw agricultural commodities, including small businesses and entities that sell directly to consumers, and be appropriate to the scale and diversity of the production and harvesting of such commodities;

(B) include, with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting, packing, and storage operations, science-based minimum standards related to soil amendments, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animals in the growing area, and water;

(C) consider hazards that occur naturally, may be unintentionally introduced, or may be intentionally introduced, including by acts of terrorism;

(D) take into consideration, consistent with ensuring enforceable public health protection, conservation and environmental practice standards and policies established by Federal natural resource conservation, wildlife conservation, and environmental agencies;

(E) in the case of production that is certified organic, not include any requirements that conflict with or duplicate the requirements of the national organic program established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, while providing the same level of public health protection as the requirements under guidance documents, including guidance documents regarding action levels, and regulations under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act; and

(F) define, for purposes of this section, the terms "small business" and "very small business".

(4) Prioritization

The Secretary shall prioritize the implementation of the regulations under this section for specific fruits and vegetables that are raw agricultural commodities based on known risks which may include a history and severity of foodborne illness outbreaks.

(b) Final regulation

(1) In general

Not later than 1 year after the close of the comment period for the proposed rulemaking under subsection (a), the Secretary shall adopt a final regulation to provide for minimum science-based standards for those types of fruits and vegetables, including specific mixes or categories of fruits or vegetables, that are raw agricultural commodities, based on known safety risks, which may include a history of foodborne illness outbreaks.

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