What is Agricultural Water?
- [Narrator] The Produce Safety Rule defines agricultural water as water used in covered activities on covered produce where water is intended to, or is likely to contact covered produce or food contact surfaces.
Covered produce is produce subject to the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule.
The term, covered produce, refers to the harvestable or harvested part of the crop.
Agricultural water can be used in growing or production activities, including irrigation water applied using direct water application methods, water used for preparing crop sprays, frost protection, cooling water, and water used as mixes applied directly to produce, prior to harvest.
Agricultural water can also be used during and after harvest that can include water used in the field during harvest, as well as during packing or holding activities.
This water includes water used for washing or cooling harvested produce, water used for preventing dehydration of covered produce.
Other uses of post-harvest water include ice making, post-harvest fungicide, and wax mixing and application, hand washing, and cleaning and sanitizing.
Keep in mind that if a farm uses water that does not meet the definition of agricultural water, this is not subject to the agricultural water requirements in the Produce Safety Rule.
For example, water that does not contact the produce would not be considered agricultural water, such as water used for drip or furrow irrigation in apple farms.
That same water, regardless of where it comes from, would be considered agricultural water if it is used for preparing a crop spray that is applied directly to the apples.
The FDA is considering ways to simplify the agricultural water requirements and in September 2017, FDA proposed to extend the compliance dates for agricultural water requirements for covered produce, other than sprouts.
Check the compliance dates that apply to your farm.
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This program was developed by Food Safety CTS, LLC, for the USDA's Food Safety and Agricultural Sustainability Training Program and Penn State University.
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