Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Programs
Public Act Public Act No. 17-208, codified as section 22-39g, authorized the department to begin enforcement of the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) component of the federal Food Safety Modernization act. The department in cooperation with the University of Connecticut Extension Service has, and continues to sponsor PSR training for Connecticut produce growers.
The PSR requires produce farms to be inspected in accordance with the following inspection schedule, based on average income, beginning in 2019:
More than $500,000 in produce sales: 2019
$250,000 - $500,000 in produce sales: 2020
$25,000 - $250,000 in produce sales: 2021
Public Act Public Act No. 17-208 requires all fruit, vegetable and sprout growers with over $25,000 in produce sales annually to register. Currently registration is free.
The PSR has certain modified requirements for growers that claim a qualified exemption from the PSR. This exemption is in place for farms with less than $500,000 in total food sales that sell the majority of their produce directly to qualified end users (direct to consumer, restaurants, grocery stores, schools, etc.). These farms are required to submit a declaration to DoAg to claim exempt from routine compliance inspections, however there are certain record keeping requirements.
Farms with less than $25,000 in produce sales are not required to register or be inspected. These farms are encouraged to submit a declaration to avoid routine compliance activities.
All produce growers, regardless of size are subject to for-cause inspections such as outbreak and complaint investigations.
The department also offers the Connecticut Good Agricultural Practices (CGAP) on-farm food safety program. CGAP focuses on the documents, records and training each farm provides in an effort to enhance the food safety culture of that farm, in addition to compliance with the PSR. After a successful inspection, CGAP participants are provided a certificate they can provide to their wholesale customers that verifies their status in the CGAP program. CGAP enrollment is open to all Connecticut produce growers regardless of the amount of their sales.
Produce Safety Rule and CGAP questions can be directed to the Bureau of Regulatory Services Produce Safety Unit: