The FDA has released an online Agricultural Water Assessment Builder to help farms understand the proposed requirements for an agricultural water assessment in the Agricultural Water Proposed Rule. Use of the tool is optional.
If finalized, the proposed rule would require farms to conduct systems-based agricultural water assessments to determine and guide appropriate measures to minimize potential risks associated with pre-harvest agricultural water. The assessment would include an evaluation of the water system, agricultural water use practices, crop characteristics, environmental conditions and potential impacts on source water by activities conducted on adjacent and nearby land as well as other relevant factors, such as the results of optional testing. Covered farms would be required to conduct pre-harvest agricultural water assessments annually, and whenever a significant change occurs that affects the likelihood that a known or reasonably foreseeable hazard will be introduced into or onto produce or food contact surfaces.
The agricultural water assessment builder prompts users to answer questions and/or fill in information specific to their farms. Information entered into the tool is not shared with the FDA and will not be saved. However, users have the opportunity save or print the information they provide to their local computers.
This tool incorporates information from the Agricultural Water Proposed Rule, the Final Qualitative Assessment of Risk to Public Health from On-Farm Contamination of Produce, and the 2015 Produce Safety Final Rule.
The development of this tool is consistent with the agency’s objectives in the New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint to look for smarter tools and approaches for food safety.