After less than a month on the streets, the internet is starting to discuss the finer points of the new regulations implemented under the Food Safety Modernization Act. SmartBlog On Food & Beverage has a piece up today entitled “How Safe is Your Salad“. Key quote:

This month, the FDA proposed a set of rules for produce safety that includes hygiene standards for farm workers and best practices for limiting crops’ exposure to animal waste and dirty water. There’s a catch, though. Farmers who average less than $500,000 in annual food sales are exempt, which means much of the produce we buy at farmers markets won’t be subject to the stricter safety rules, Food Safety News reported.

And there a fine point, but let’s make the important distinction between regulatory liability and civil liability. Just because an inspector can’t shut you down does not mean that your food business is managing all of its production risk in an optimal way. These new regs may exempt compliance for small-scale producers, but compliance is still a very good idea even if a business qualifies for the exemption. Strict liability in tort is the alternative, compelling rationale for the practices and procedures described in the regs. Most of the new regs impose some common sense procedures and practices – it is a good idea to have a HAACP plan no matter what size business you have, even if you are not required by a reg to have one.