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This page is intended to be a resource to find applicable food safety information for producers, processors and buyers. If you are aware of a resource that you think would be useful, please email If you encounter any broken links in the list below, please contact the MDA webmaster.

Food Safety Modernization Act

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA, often pronounced "fizz-ma") was signed into law on January 4, 2011.  FSMA authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take a preventative approach to food safety.

There are seven rules included within FSMA.  In November 2015, the Produce Safety Rule was finalized, which sets food safety standards for farms in an effort to minimize the risks of microbiological contamination that may occur during the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fresh produce. The key elements to the Produce Safety Rule include:

  • Employee qualifications and training
  • Worker health and hygiene
  • Agricultural water used during growing, harvesting, packing and holding
  • Biological soil amendments
  • Domesticated and wild animals
  • Equipment, Tools and Buildings
  • Record Keeping
  • Sprouts- specific requirements because of their susceptibility to contamination

Not all farms or commodities are covered by the new rules- there are exemptions and exclusions (this is just a summary, for a full explanation review the Final Rule):

  • The rule does not apply to food grown only for personal consumption
  • If your farm has average annual produce sales less than $25,000, the rule does not apply
  • The rule does not apply to produce commodities that are "rarely consumed raw."  The list of these commodities are below.
    • Asparagus; black beans, great Northern beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, and pinto beans; garden beets (roots and tops) and sugar beets; cashews; sour cherries; chickpeas; cocoa beans; coffee beans; collards; sweet corn; cranberries; dates; dill (seeds and weed); eggplant; figs; ginger; hazelnuts; horseradish; lentils; okra; peanuts; pecans; peppermint; potatoes; pumpkins; winter squash; sweet potatoes; water chestnuts
  • There is an exemption for produce that receives commercial processing that adequately reduces harmful pathogens (e.g. a kill step).  Specific written assurances and disclosures must be documented.
  • A qualified exemption is provided for farms that meet two requirements: (1) the farm must have total food sales averaging less than $500,000 annually during the previous 3 years; and (2) the farm's sales to qualified end-users* must exceed sales to all others.  Qualified exempt farms must keep documentation to show eligibility for the exemption.  They must also display their name and address on the label of the produce or at the point of purchase (e.g. sign at the farmers market).

A qualified end-user is either: (1) the direct consumer of the food or (2) a restaurant or retail food establishment that is located in the same state or reservation as the farm OR within 275 miles.

FSMA does not take the place of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) though farms already utilizing these programs will have a head start on the Produce Safety Rule.  For example, Global GAP has already released an assessment showing the Produce Rule requirements alongside the relevant GAPs.  It is expected that the FDA and USDA will continue to work together to release guidance.

For more information about coverage and exemptions, review the following links:


Looking for Certified Food Protection Manager Trainings?  Click here

ServSafe Trainings through MSU extension Click here


  • Feb. 21-22 - Better Process Control School (BPCS): Provides practical applications of principles set forth in the regulations and satisfy the training requirements of both FDA and USDA. The two-day course includes the following subjects:
    • Applicable Regulations
    • Microbiology of Thermally Processed Foods
    • Acidified Foods
    • Food Container Handling
    • Food Plant Sanitation
    • Records for Product Protection
    • Principles of Thermal Processing
    • Instrumentation and Equipment
    • Closures for Glass Containers


  • Feb. 22-24 - Preventive Controls Qualified Individual Training: Instructor Claude Smith will lead this 3 day training. Successful completion of the course certifies the graduate as a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual, who can prepare the required Food Safety Plan for your facility.  Background in or significant knowledge of food safety required for attendees.  Contact Mr. Smith for more information: 406-994-3812.


  • On Farm Food Safety Training GAP Workshops: Assistance for agricultural producers to take new food safety challenges using good agricultural practices (GAP) including writing a farm food safety plan. PURPOSE: This GAP Planning Workshop will guide; vegetable, fruit and nut growers through the food safety plan writing process. TARGET AUDIENCE: Fresh produce growers, especially those who are exempt from the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Rule. However, the workshop will be useful to all fresh produce growers, as well as buyers of fresh produce, and educators working with growers of fresh produce.  Contact Jonda Crosby with questions and to reserve a laptop 406-227-9161.  

    Nationwide Trainings

      Need more information? Have questions? Contact Betsy Miller, Food Safety Coordinator at (406) 444-0131 or

Upcoming Food Safety Trainings

Produce Safety Plan Workshops Offered in March

March 2-3 in Billings, March 6-7 in Corvallis and March 9-10 in Kalispell

Produce Safety Plan Workshops Offered in March

Helena, Mont. – Fresh produce farmers will receive training and help developing their on-farm food safety Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) plans in three locations throughout Montana this March. The On-Farm Food Safety GAP Workshops will guide participants through the plan writing process. The workshops will be led by food safety experts Nancy Matheson, David Wise, and Jonda Crosby, and will be held March 2-3 in Billings, March 6-7 in Corvallis and March 9-10 in Kalispell.

Montana Legislature - Look up bill information for the 2017 session

Montana Legislature - Look up bill information for the 2017 session
Are you interested in bills at the 2017 Montana Legislature that may affect agriculture? Use the Montana Legislative Branch's online LAWS website to look up current bill information.


Betsy Miller
Food Safety Coordinator

Phone: (406) 444-0131
E-mail :
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601


Food Safety Forms & Files

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