The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources will hold a public hearing on proposed draft regulations for Produce Safety and Market Access regulations for fresh fruits and vegetables in the Commonwealth.

Foodborne illness, and their associated outbreaks, related to the contamination and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, continues to have a profound impact on public health in the United States. Recent outbreaks associated with the consumption of produce grown in the US have been responsible for illness and death across the country and have had profound market impacts for fruit and vegetable growers both nationally and in the Commonwealth.

330 CMR 34.00 establishes statewide minimum standards relating to the sanitary and safe growing, harvesting, labeling, packing, and storing of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  The draft regulations are consistent with those established by the FDA pursuant to 21 C.F.R. § 112 (2016) and adopted in Massachusetts, in its entirety, through M.G.L. c. 128, § 124, which was enacted on July 1, 2018, through Chapter 154, § 44 of the Acts of 2018.

330 CMR 34.00 addresses departmental and programmatic operational rules and procedures, including farm registration, inspectional cycles, enforcement and compliance, in addition to appeals, required documentation and records.  These regulations closely align with national framework models developed in partnership with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the Federal Food & Drug Administration, and federal/state regulator standard operating procedures.

The mission of the Massachusetts Produce Safety Program is to assist in the prevention of produce related foodborne illness while increasing market access for fruits and vegetables that are grown, harvested, and processed in the Commonwealth.

The program supports this mission through the following program services:

  • The Inspection of produce farms under state authority in Massachusetts (G.L. c. 128, §124);
  • The provision of Massachusetts Commonwealth Quality Program (CQP) for fresh produce Audits;
  • Deployed technical assistance, pre-audits, and readiness reviews;
  • Farm food safety practice adoption through MDAR’s grant programs;
  • Producer education and training by commodity, using both national and local curriculum;
  • Marketing and promotional support to sustain and increase the procurement of certified/inspected Massachusetts’ grown fruits and vegetables.

 

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

Notice is hereby given that the Department of Agricultural Resources, under its authority pursuant to M.G.L. c. 128, § 124 and in accordance with M.G.L. c. 30A, will hold a public hearing on proposed draft regulations at 330 CMR 34.00.  330 CMR 34.00 establishes statewide minimum standards relating to the sanitary and safe growing, harvesting, labeling, packing, and storing of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Commonwealth.  The draft regulations are consistent with those established by the Federal Food and Drug Administration pursuant to 21 C.F.R. § 112 and adopted in Massachusetts, in its entirety, through M.G.L. c. 128, § 124.

One public hearing will be held on the following date:

Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 5:30 P.M.

Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this hearing will be held virtually via Zoom.  To join the hearing, please use either the link or the call-in telephone number below:

Topic: Produce Safety Market Access Regulations Public Hearing

Time: Aug 6, 2020 05:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Testimony may be presented orally at the virtual hearing or in writing.  Written comments will be accepted until 5:00 P.M. on Friday, August 21, 2020.  Written testimony must be submitted by e-mail to michael.botelho@mass.gov or by mail to Michael Botelho, 30 Riverside Drive, Suite 202, Lakeville, MA  02342.

The proposed regulation is available on the MDAR website at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/mdar-proposed-amendments-to-regulations, or may be obtained by calling Michael Botelho at 617-626-1711.  For special accommodations for this event or to obtain this information in an alternative format, you may contact ADA coordinator, Donald Gomes, at 617-626-1608.