The comment period on the new produce rule proposed by the Food and Drug Administration is extended by 120 days.

While addressing the Senate Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee on April 17, FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the May 16 comment deadline has been extended, said Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C.

“We asked one of the senators on the committee to ask her about it and Commissioner Hamburg responded in the best possible way by saying there would be an additional 120 days,” Stenzel said.

The extension also applies to the proposed prevention rule.

The commissioner said the “complex rules” that are part of the FDA’s mandate from the Food Safety Modernization Act deserve careful consideration.

“We do intend to extend the comment period so that we can hear all of the concerns and address them fully. I think it’s a reasonable request,” she told the subcommittee members.

She also said the FDA will not need to furlough any staff because of the sequester related to the federal budget situation.

Comments can be faxed, e-mailed or filed online.

Written comments can be faxed to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attn: FDA Desk Officer, 202-395-7285; or e-mailed to

To file electronic comments on the produce rule go to

To file electronic comments on the prevention rule go to