Food Safety Modernization Act Resources


The Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety at the University of Vermont and the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School are pleased to share legal educational factsheets as an output of their joint project, the Extension Legal Services Initiative. This initiative identified, researched, and developed educational resources related to key legal questions associated with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. This project began in late 2018 with a national survey of the produce community to identify and prioritize legal research questions.

Intended Use and Audience

Intended Use

These resources are intended to serve as stand-alone and self-contained documents. However, the resources may cross-reference other project resources when the topic of one informs or duplicates information contained in another. When using these resources, we recommend reviewing all cross-referenced resources together. Each resource is marked with the date it was created. This date will change when updates or other changes are made to the document. The educational resources are not intended to provide, nor should they be construed as providing, legal advice. Any information presented therein is purely for educational purposes. If you seek legal advice, please consult an attorney licensed in your state for assistance.

Intended Audience

These educational resources are primarily intended for educators, regulators, and technical service providers that work with produce growers. The resources are also designed and intended to be accessed directly by producers and, for select resources, processors or produce buyers. Educators, regulators and technical service providers are encouraged to share these resources with producers and processers as appropriate. It is assumed that the user of these resources has a baseline understanding of the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule and, for select resources, the Preventive Controls Rule for Human Food.


The Extension Legal Services Initiative is a collaborative effort between the Northeast Center to Advance for Safety (NECAFS) and Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS). 


NECAFS, housed at the University of Vermont Extension, is one of four USDA funded regional centers tasked with coordinating training, education and outreach related to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule (PSR) and the FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Foods (PCHF) Rule. NECAFS’ work focuses on coordination and facilitation of the Northeast regional network to support a national food safety training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance system among small and medium-sized producers and small processors.

About CAFS

CAFS trains law and policy students to develop real-world solutions for a more sustainable and just food system. CAFS educates students at Vermont Law School through a comprehensive array of residential and online courses, as well as through the Food and Agriculture Clinic. Students can choose to specialize in Food and Agriculture Law; pursue a JD Certificate in Food and Agriculture Law; or earn a Master's or LLM degree in Food and Agricultural Law and Policy. With CAFS's diverse course offerings, degree options, and practical experiences in the clinic, students explore food and agricultural law from a variety of perspectives.

CAFS is also a center for research and advocacy. As a clinician in the Food and Agriculture Clinic or through our Research Assistant and Summer Honors Internship programs, students work with local, regional, national, and international partners, engaging in law and policy work that addresses food systems challenges related to the environment, public health, the economy, food security, and animal welfare. The legal tools and policy recommendations they develop have real-world implications for stakeholders across the food system, including farmers, food producers, entrepreneurs, distributors, consumers, legislators, and administrators

The project has been led by Elizabeth Newbold at NECAFS and Sophia Kruszewski at CAFS, with support from Chris Callahan at NECAFS and Laurie Beyranevand, Lihlani Nelson, and Claire Child at CAFS. 

We are grateful for the time and expertise of the ELSI Project Advisors: 

  • Angela Shaw, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist of Food Microbiology/Safety at Iowa State University
  • Mike Mosher, Outreach and Compliance Specialist at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection
  • Lisa McKeag, Extension Educator at UMass Extension Vegetable Program Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment
  • Andre Cantelmo, Co-founder of Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton, NH
  • Robert Sakata, Owner of Sakata Farms in Brighton, CO
  • Roland McReynolds, Executive Director of Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
  • Barrett Vaughn, Assistant Professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Tuskegee University
  • Gretchen Wall, Coordinator & Northeast Regional Extension Associate with the Produce Safety Alliance at Cornell University
  • Kelly Nuckolls, Policy Specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition 
  • Lauren Handel, Principal Attorney at Handel Food Law, LLC
  • Abbey Willard, Director of Agriculture Development Division at Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets
  • Trevor Suslow, Vice President of Produce Safety at the Produce Marketing Association 
  • Atina Diffley, Owner and Consultant at Organic Farming Works, LLC. 
  • Socrates Trujillo, served when he was a Consumer Safety Officer in the Produce Safety Network at Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA
  • Leanne Skelton, served when she was the Liaison to FDA on FSMA-related issues at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, Specialty Crops Program
  • Tricia Kovacs, Deputy Administrator in Transportation & Marketing at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service 
  • Diane Ducharme, Consumer Safety Officer in the Produce Safety Network at Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA

We also thank the following Center for Agriculture and Food Systems student clinicians and interns who contributed significantly to the research, writing, and analysis contained in the project resources:

  • Sedona Chavez, JD ‘20
  • Bethany Towne, JD ‘20
  • Ella Farago, JD ‘20
  • Lexi Basile, MFALP ‘19
  • Samuel Ingraham, JD ‘20
  • Lizzie Fainberg, JD/MFALP ‘20
  • Lauren Wustenberg, JD/MFALP ‘21
  • Lindsay De May, JD/MFALP ‘21
  • Jessica Griswold, JD ‘21
  • Jessie Gittemeier, JD ‘21 (Lewis & Clark)

Factsheets designed by Kelly Collar, Mad River Creative

Web design by Pete Land, Tamarack Media Cooperative

Select Photos by Andrew Chamberlin, UVM Extension 

This project is funded by the National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture