The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will convene an April 4, 2014, public meeting in College Park, Maryland, to discuss “the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed rule to establish standards for the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of produce for human consumption (the produce safety proposed rule).”The agency has also extended the comment period for the EIS scoping period to April 18, 2014, to incorporate meeting input.

Having discovered a number of areas where potential environmental impacts are likely, FDA notes that alternatives have been identified for the following key provisions: (i) “microbial standard for agricultural water used during growing activities for covered produce (other than sprouts) using a direct water application method”; (ii) “minimum application intervals for biological soil amendments of animal origin”; (iii) “measures related to animal grazing and animal intrusion”; and (iv) “scope of proposed rule and implications to land use and land management.”The agency seeks comments on whether other issues and related alternatives should be considered. Additional details about the EIS appear in Issue 495 of this Update. See Federal Register, March 11, 2014.