FDA Issues New Rules for Fruit and Vegetable Production

The US government releases long-awaited guidelines for how produce is grown, harvested, and packed.

The first federal standards for how fruit and vegetables are grown, harvested, and packed were released last week by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These guidelines include the safety of water in irrigation, farmer hygiene, and managing the fecal matter from wild and domesticated animals. Although many produce growers already abide by these new expectations, it is the first major overhaul of the food-safety system in decades. "A rising tide lifts all boats, and everybody is going to have a minimum standard they’ll have to abide by," Jim Gorny, a vice president for the Produce Marketing Association, told The Washington Post. "This is certainly a big step forward." An estimated 48 million Americans become sick from contaminated food every year, including several thousand deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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