The Inspection Process Has Started!

On June 5, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) mailed letters to produce growers having annual food sales over $500,000 informing them that inspections of produce farms would start in July.  Due to their sales volume, these growers are expected to be in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule (21CFR § 112) as of the 2019 growing season.  The letters also outline the inspection process for 2019.

As part of the inspection process, produce growers identified as having over $500,000 in food sales will be contacted sometime in June to schedule an inspection. The inspections will begin in July. Here are some things to keep in mind as ISDH rolls out their 2019 inspections:

  1. There will be no surprise inspections. Growers will be contacted prior to any inspector visiting the farm.
  2. The inspections will be conducted by ISDH. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not be directly involved in inspections in Indiana.
  3. Inspections will largely be educational in nature and growers will be given the opportunity for corrective actions to be taken. Immediate action will only be taken if egregious conditions are found to exist.
  4. Inspections will consist of an initial interview, walk-through of the farm, and an exit interview. While Indiana has its own form, inspection questions will be based on FDA Form 4056.  A copy of this form may be found at https://www.fda.gov/downloads/AboutFDA/ReportsManualsForms/Forms/UCM630765.pdf.
  5. Unlike audits, inspections will not utilize a point system. Growers will either be in compliance with the rule or not.

Along with a letter to produce growers, ISDH also sent information detailing what growers can expect during an inspection and how to schedule an On Farm Readiness Review (OFRR). All documents sent to growers have been posted on the Farm Produce Safety Initiative website (https://www.in.gov/isdh/25773.htm). The On Farm Readiness Review is a FREE assessment of compliance with the Produce Safety Rule. Upon request, a team consisting of personnel from ISDH, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and Purdue Extension will visit your farm and conduct the review. Upon completion of the review, you will be informed of where your farm is on the compliance spectrum and be advised concerning those aspects of compliance where you might improve. The whole process takes 2-3 hours. This is NOT an inspection and the service is completely confidential and free. Those interested in scheduling an On Farm Readiness Review should contact ISDH at (317) 476-0056 or email ProduceSafety@isdh.in.gov. For more information concerning the Produce Safety Rule and produce food safety, check out our website at www.SafeProduceIN.com.

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