Land & Environment

Proposed update to FDA water rule aims to reduce risks of foodborne illness

(Utah State University)

Utah – Farmers who grow fresh produce have new direction from the Federal Drug Administration on managing the risk of spreading foodborne illness through irrigation water.

The Produce Safety Rule, part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, establishes science-based minimum standards for safe production and harvesting of fresh fruits and vegetables. These standards encompass growing, harvesting, packing and distribution of fresh produce. If passed, the proposed new rule about irrigation water will be easier for farmers to implement.

The new proposed rule focuses on systems-based agricultural water assessments that can easily be adapted to a wide variety of irrigation systems, uses and practices. The goal of the updated rule is to create standards that more effectively reduce the risk of spreading microbial contamination, which can lead to preventable foodborne illness, a significant public health problem.

The public is welcome to read the proposed new rule and provide electronic or written comment until April 5, 2022. A link to the proposed rule and contact form is on the UDAF Produce Safety Website at

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food and Utah State University Extension will conduct a certified Produce Safety Rule training on March 23. The full-day training is free to all Utah agricultural production professionals and will be at the Central Utah Water Conservation District building in Orem. Please see the UDAF Produce Safety Website for more information or to register,


Lara Gale
Program Coordinator
Nutrition, Dietetics & Food Science

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