Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association




What is FSMA?

FSMA stands for the Food Safety Modernization Act, a national law enacted on Jan. 4, 2011, that authorizes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take a preventative approach to food safety. FDA has finalized seven major rules to implement FSMA, each rule addresses a different point in the global supply chain for both human and animal food.
The rule that is most relevant to produce farmers is the  “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption” (commonly referred to as the Produce Safety Rule).

In Texas, the FDA is working in cooperation with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to promote understanding and compliance with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.  Click here for additional information from the Texas Department Agriculture.

Are you regulated under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule?
*Being exempt from the specific regulations of FSMA does NOT exempt any farm from the responsibility of on-farm food safety and the liability for all food sold.*

You are totally exempt if ANY of these apply to your farm: 

  1. Your farm’s average annual value of produce sold during the previous 3-year period was less than $25,000 (this number is subject to inflation and would be $27,528 for averages from 2016-2018. Click here for more details)

  2. Your produce is grown only for personal use

  3. ALL the produce you grow is “rarely consumed raw” (click here for a list of produce that falls under this category)

  4. The produce you grow is not consumed in a raw state (eg: you sell all your tomatoes to a cannery)

If any of the above apply to you, the FSMA Produce Safety Rule should not affect you at all.

You are qualified exempt if:

  1. The average annual value of all food (including live animals) your farm sold during the last 3-years was less than $500,000 (this number is subject to inflation and would be $550,551 for averages from 2016-2018)


  2. During the previous 3-year period, more than half of the average annual monetary value of the food the farm sold was directly to “qualified end-users.”

What is a “qualified end-user”?

The consumer of the food (consumer does not include a business), or restaurant, or retail food establishment (eg: grocery store) is located in the same State or the same Indian reservation as the farm that produced the food, or within 275 miles from such farm.
In other word, the food should be eaten locally; consumed by someone within the state or within 275 miles of the farm.

What is required if I am qualified exempt?
  1. You need the proper documentation to prove you are qualified exempt.
    Eg: Sales receipts for the past 3 years that show that your total food sales were less than $500,000 and that more than half your sales were to “qualified end-users.”

  2. You need to include your name and complete business address on either a food packaging label on the produce, on a sign that is displayed at the point of sale with the produce, on documents delivered with the produce in the normal course of business, or an electronic notice in an internet sale.

Food-Safety-Plan_Template FULL.pdf

The link below provides templates for the records necessary for Qualified Exempt Farms as well as farms that may be fully covered under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.
Records Required by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule

Flowchart provided by U.S. Food and Drug Administration

If you have additional questions feel free to email: admin@tofga.org

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