FDA Releases Final Produce Safety Rule
Use of biosolids = an accepted practice
(thanks to NACWA for this coverage)

The Food and Drug Administration has released a pre-publication version of its final rule on produce safety. Consistent with... comments on the rule [NACWA, NEBRA, & other biosolids groups provided comments], the FDA has maintained provisions from the proposal that allow for the use of biosolids in accordance with EPA's Part 503 regulations. The final rule is available here.

The provisions regarding biosolids/sewage sludge are brief and were unchanged from the proposal. They state: "You may not use human waste for growing covered produce, except sewage sludge biosolids used in accordance with the requirements of 40 CFR part 503, subpart D, or equivalent regulatory requirements."

In response to comments over concerns regarding the use of biosolids even in compliance with Part 503 regulations, FDA responded with several positive statements regarding the Part 503 regulations:

"In consultation with EPA, FDA has concluded that adherence to 40 CFR part 503 remains an appropriate approach to the use of biosolids for the growing of covered produce. We continue to believe that these requirements are appropriately protective of public health."

"FDA, in consultation with EPA, has determined that 40 CFR part 503 remains the most appropriate approach to safe use of sewage sludge biosolids on land involved in the production of covered produce. We point out that the NAS 2002 report (Ref. 177) noted that there is "...no documented evidence to indicate that part 503 has failed to protect public health"; that EPA responded to the NAS review with a 14-point action plan, which it is carrying out; and that under section 405(d)(2)(C) of the CWA, EPA is required to publish a biennial review of part 503 (Ref. 178). FDA concludes that the provisions of 40 CFR part 503 are appropriate standards for protecting public health with respect to the use of sewage sludge biosolids in growing covered produce."