Colorado Produce Safety Program

Peaches

The Colorado Produce Safety Program registers and inspects facilities that grow, harvest, pack or hold produce that is commonly consumed raw.  Foodborne illnesses pose a serious health risk to individuals, and to the viability of businesses and industries impacted by an outbreak.  The program inspects farms and facilities to ensure proper food safety practices, established through scientific methods, are followed and documented to help protect human health. 

The program is supported through a grant from the FDA.  Registration and inspections are conducted at no cost to the farm operation. 

For more information or assistance please reach out to Sarah Musick, Produce Safety Rule Coordinator at sarah.musick@state.co.us or 303-869-9282. 

 

Duane Sinning
Produce Safety Program Manager

A Strong Produce Safety Culture

Reducing the risks of a foodborne outbreak begins with a strong produce safety culture mindset.  The Produce Safety program supports efforts to raise awareness to the potential sources of contamination to reduce those risks.  Those efforts include supporting the educational assistance Colorado State University Extension extends to farms for produce safety training and through non-regulatory on-farm readiness reviews that provide compliance assistance.  Those training and educational efforts, along with the registration and regulatory inspections facilitated by the Produce Safety program, helps insure that Colorado’s produce industry continues to provide consumers safe and nutritious fresh produce.  

What is the Produce Safety Rule and CDA Produce Safety Program?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the Produce Safety Rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in order to establish science based standards related to produce safety. Unless they are otherwise exempt, farms that grow, harvest, pack, or hold “covered produce” must comply with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. Like other state departments of agriculture, CDA assists the FDA in implementing the rule in Colorado. This includes conducting inspections and partnering with CSU Extension Services to provide grower education and training initiatives. Many Colorado farmers are already familiar with the Produce Safety Rule through grower training and on-farm readiness reviews provided by CSU Extension.

Why do producers need to register with the CDA?

In 2019, the Colorado General Assembly passed HB19-1114, which authorized CDA to adopt the Produce Safety Rule under state authority. This bill was supported by Colorado producers and passed largely because Colorado produce growers preferred to have the CDA conduct the inspections over a federal agency.

When and how do I register?

Registration will occur annually in November and December. Farms are encouraged to create a new registration or update their existing registration at any time during the year. Registration can be completed online or you may request a paper application. To request a paper application, please contact the program staff listed below. The online registration is a simple 5-minute process in which you will provide basic contact information and information on the types of produce you intend to grow, harvest, pack, or hold in the upcoming season. 

Will I have to pay to register?

No, there is no cost to register. The CDA’s Produce Safety Program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the FDA.

Will I need to provide any financial information or business records?

No, CDA will not ask for any financial information or business records when you register. However, we will ask you to categorize the size of your farm, based on your average produce sales for the previous three years; 2017-2019:

Exempt from the Rule (Below $28,075)

Very Small Farms ($28,076 - $280,750) 

Small Farms ($280,751 - $561,494)

Large Farms (greater than $561,494)

Will my information be kept confidential?

Yes, your information will not be available to the public and will not be shared with the FDA. The exception would be an outbreak of a foodborne illness linked to your farming operation where the CDA and FDA are working together to address public health and safety.

 

Contact Us

For more information, ask any question on the state program, or registration requirements please contact the program at cda_produce.safety@state.co.us or Sarah Musick, Produce Safety Rule Coordinator at 303-869-9282 or sarah.musick@state.co.us or Duane Sinning, Program Manager at 303-869-9284 or duane.sinning@state.co.us.

More information regarding produce safety, produce grower education and on-farm readiness reviews can be found online at http://www.coproducesafety.org or by contacting Cristy Dice at 970-491-2942 or Cristy.L.Dice@colostate.edu or Martha Sullins at 970-491-3330 or Martha.Sullins@colostate.edu at the CSU Extension office.

The FDA website also contains important background information on the Food Safety Modernization Act and the Produce Safety Rule. That information can be found at: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-modernization-act-fsma/fsma-final-rule-produce-safety