Floridian Producers’ Concerns About the Food Safety Modernization Act
This study explored the challenges producers encountered in complying with the Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The Southern Center provides FSMA education to stakeholders in the Southern Region. Survey data were collected from all Floridian participants of the Southern Center trainings. Results showed that stakeholders believed cost of compliance and knowledge of the FSMA were the most important barriers to FSMA compliance. GAP-compliant producers perceived greater challenges to FSMA compliance than non-GAP producers did. Extension agents and producers had similarly higher perceptions of the magnitude of challenges to FSMA compliance than specialists and consultants had, which indicated some discrepancies between stakeholders on perceptions of FSMA requirements. Results indicated that stakeholders’ perceptions toward the major barriers of FSMA compliance had remained unchanged over the previous three years; cost of compliance and knowledge of the FSMA were persistent barriers to FSMA compliance. This paper recommended shared program planning between producers, Extension agents, specialists, and consultants to create impactful FSMA educational programs. Also, it recommended that educators seek input from stakeholders to design supplemental training for producers on managing costs of compliance. Program planners should account for farm-specific characteristics when designing educational programs to ensure that producers understand the steps needed to maintain FSMA compliance.
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