On-Farm Food Safety and FSMA

Update: Spring 2017

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What is the Food Safety Modernization Act (also known as FSMA) and does it apply to me?
If you operate a farm business that grows and sells fresh produce—and/or processes, packs, manufactures, or holds food, your business may be affected by FSMA. Some businesses may not be affected at all, some may be affected by one rule, and some may be affected by both rules. See the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition website for an overview of FSMA and how it applies to small and medium-sized farms, as well as up-to-date information on FSMA. Below is information to help you understand food safety on your farm and to see how your farm might be affected. There are also templates for developing a food-safety plan.

Food Safety Modernization Act Timeline

April 2017
For more information on compliance for producers and producer FSMA training see the Produce Safety Alliance web site.

ATTRA Resources Related to On-Farm Food Safety

(In English and Spanish)

Tutorial – Implementing and Developing a Food Safety Plan on Your Farm (coming soon!)

Case Studies – How real farmers are implementing their food safety plans. (coming soon!)



⇒ Videos

⇒ Publications


What Does FSMA Mean for Farmers?

NSAC Food Safety Flow Chart

More information and a full flowchart can be downloaded via this link.


The Food and Drug Administration has developed a flow chart to help producers determine if they are exempt or have some qualified exemptions.

View the Standards for Produce Safety here

Templates for Developing Food-Safety Plans

Penn State Food Safety Plan Template
A sample food-safety plan developed by Penn State Extension.

Food Safety Plan for You – FSP4U; University of Minnesota
Explains all components of a food-safety plan and provides food safety plan and record keeping templates.

On Farm Food Safety Project
This organization provides a free and easy-to-use online template for you to develop a food-safety plan on your farm. It prompts you to fill in only the areas that are relevant to your farm, similar to TurboTax®. Just click on the tab “Create a Food Safety Manual.”
También disponsible en español.

Primus Labs Local Farmer Program
This is another online platform for developing a food-safety plan. It also has trainings for auditors and verifiers.


How to Work with Buyers Who Are Requesting Food-Safety Materials

Tipsheet on working with buyers who are asking for a GAPS plan and audit (coming soon!)


Types of Audits

  • Consider GroupGAP
    The USDA GroupGAP is a farm food-safety audit program that allows producers to attain GAP certification as a group.
    See the National Good Food Network fact sheet on this topic.

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