The Food and Drug Administration wants more input on how the Food Safety Modernization Act’s proposed produce safety rule will affect the environment.

The agency has scheduled a public meeting on April 4 in College Park, Md., to discuss the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed rule. That FSMA segment establishes standards for growing, harvesting, packing and holding produce, according to a news release.

The agency also is extending the comment period on the environmental impact statement from March 14 to April 18. The FDA expects to publish a draft environmental impact statement this year for public comment.

The environmental impact statement is required under the National Environmental Policy Act and is different from the process FDA has announced to revise parts of the proposed rule and seek comment on the revisions.

In December, the FDA said it plans to revise parts of the proposed rule and publish it for public comment by early summer. The FDA has developed alternatives where potential environmental impacts are likely.

Specifically, the FDA said alternatives have been identified:


  • Microbial standard for agricultural water used during growing activities for covered produce (other than sprouts) using a direct water application method;
  • Minimum application intervals for biological soil amendments of animal origin;
  • Measures related to animal grazing and animal intrusion; and
  • Scope of the rule and implications to land use and land management.


The FDA also is seeking public input on other issues to consider for in-depth analysis in the Environmental Impact Statement.

Comments can be sent to using docket number FDA-2011-N-0921, according to the release.