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Produce Safety Rule Decision Tree

Follow FDA's decision tree to determine where your farm falls under the Produce Safety Rule.


Produce means any fruit or vegetable (including mixes of intact fruits and vegetables) and includes mushrooms, sprouts (irrespective of seed source), peanuts, tree nuts, and herbs. A fruit is the edible reproductive body of a seed plant or tree nut (such as apple, orange, and almond) such that fruit means the harvestable or harvested part of a plant developed from a flower. A vegetable is the edible part of an herbaceous plant (such as cabbage or potato) or fleshy fruiting body of a fungus (such as white button or shiitake) grown for an edible part such that vegetable means the harvestable or harvested part of any plant or fungus whose fruit, fleshy fruiting bodies, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, leaves, or flower parts are used as food and includes mushrooms, sprouts, and herbs (such as basil or cilantro).


Produce does not include food grains meaning the small, hard fruits or seeds of arable crops, or the crops bearing these fruits or seeds, that are primarily grown and processed for use as meal, flour, baked goods, cereals and oils rather than for direct consumption as small, hard fruits or seeds (including cereal grains, pseudo cereals, oilseeds, and other plants used in the same fashion). Examples of food grains include barley, dent – or flint-corn, sorghum, oats, rice, rye, wheat, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, and oilseeds (e.g., cotton seed, flax seed, rapeseed, soybean, and sunflower seed).

If you do not sell the listed amount of produce, your farm is not covered by the PSR.


Produce that is rarely consumed raw, specifically the produce on the following list: Asparagus; beans, black beans; great Northern beans; kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans; beets, garden (roots and tops); sugar beets, cashews; sour cherries, chickpeas; cocoa beans; coffee beans; collards; sweet corn; cranberries; dates; dill (seeds and weed); eggplants; figs; ginger; hazelnuts; horseradish; lentils; okra; peanuts; pecans; peppermint; potatoes; pumpkins; winter squash, sweet potatoes; and water chestnuts

If you grow produce not listed above, it is safe to assume it is covered produce and the Produce Safety Rule may apply to your farm.

Important note: Hops are covered by the rule even though they are usually considered to be a food grain. Because hops are sometimes used in a manner where they are not cooked (a process known as “dry hopping”) they are covered under this rule.


Are you and your family the only ones who eat your produce? If so, you are not covered by this rule.


The PSR provides an exemption for produce that receives commercial processing that adequately reduces the presence of microorganisms of public health significance, under certain conditions. (i.e. fermenting, canning, cooking, etc.)

For example, if you are a grower who sells grapes to a winery, you would be exempt from this rule. However, you would need to provide documentation from the winery that explains the process of how your grapes will be processed.


Qualified Exempt Explained

To be qualified exempt, the Decision Tree asks if your farm has less than $500,000 in FOOD sales and a majority of the food is sold directly to a qualified end user.

  1. “Food” here includes, but is not limited to, fruits, vegetables, fish, dairy products, eggs, raw agricultural commodities for use as food or components of food, animal feed, including pet food, food and feed ingredients and additives, including substances that migrate into food from food packaging and other articles that contact food, dietary supplements and dietary ingredients, infant formula, beverages, including alcoholic beverages and bottled water, live food animals, bakery goods, snack foods, candy, and canned foods.
  2. So when it asks about food sales in this situation, it would include your food grains and produce as well as any other food you sell (not just produce).
  3. Qualified end user is
    1. The consumer of the food OR
    2. A restaurant or retail food establishment that is located in the same state or the same Indian reservation as the farm that produced the food OR
    3. Not more than 275 miles from such farm (“consumer” does not include a business).
  4. Selling products at a farmers market in the same state or within 275 miles of your farm would be considered selling to a qualified end user.
  5. A majority of sales means more than 50%.

Farms with a qualified exemption must still meet certain requirements:

Labeling: Disclosing the name and address of the farm where the produce was grown either on the label of the produce or at the point of purchase.

Records: Keep adequate records showing that the farm is below the sales threshold, selling more to qualified end users than not, and purchaser is a qualified end user.

Since NDA is required to have all growers listed in the inventory, we are requesting that all produce growers complete the inventory questions.

By registering, the NDA will be able to assist you with understanding the new Produce Safety Rule. Learn more about when the rule will affect your farm.


Download: Produce Safety Rule Decision Tree