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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XXXIII
REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS
Chapter 500
FOOD PRODUCTS
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F.S. 500.70
500.70 Tomato food safety standards; inspections; penalties; tomato good agricultural practices; tomato best management practices.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Field packing” means the packing of tomatoes on a tomato farm or in a tomato greenhouse into containers for sale for human consumption without transporting the tomatoes to a packinghouse.
(b) “Packing” or “repacking” means the packing of tomatoes into containers for sale for human consumption. The term includes the sorting or separating of tomatoes into grades and sizes. The term also includes field packing.
(c) “Producing” means the planting, growing, or cultivating of tomatoes on a tomato farm or in a tomato greenhouse for sale for human consumption.
(2) The department may adopt rules establishing food safety standards to safeguard the public health and promote the public welfare by protecting the consuming public from injury caused by the adulteration or the microbiological, chemical, or radiological contamination of tomatoes. The rules must be based on federal requirements, available scientific research, generally accepted industry practices, or recommendations of food safety professionals. The rules shall apply to the producing, harvesting, packing, and repacking of tomatoes for sale for human consumption by a tomato farm, tomato greenhouse, or tomato packinghouse or repacker in this state. The rules may include, but are not limited to, standards for:
(a) Registration with the department of a person who produces, harvests, packs, or repacks tomatoes in this state who does not hold a food permit issued under s. 500.12.
(b) Proximity of domestic animals and livestock to the production areas for tomatoes.
(c) Food safety related use of water for irrigation during production and washing of tomatoes after harvest.
(d) Use of fertilizers.
(e) Cleaning and sanitation of containers, materials, equipment, vehicles, and facilities, including storage and ripening areas.
(f) Health, hygiene, and sanitation of employees who handle tomatoes.
(g) Training and continuing education of a person who produces, harvests, packs, or repacks tomatoes in this state, and the person’s employees who handle tomatoes.
(h) Labeling and recordkeeping, including standards for identifying and tracing tomatoes for sale for human consumption.
(3)(a) The department may inspect tomato farms, tomato greenhouses, tomato packinghouses, repacking locations, or any vehicle being used to transport or hold tomatoes to ensure compliance with the applicable provisions of this chapter and the rules adopted under this chapter.
(b) The department may impose an administrative fine in the Class II category pursuant to s. 570.971 for each violation, or issue a written notice or warning under s. 500.179, against a person who violates any applicable provision of this section or any rule adopted under this section.
(4)(a) The department may adopt rules establishing tomato good agricultural practices and tomato best management practices for the state’s tomato industry based on applicable federal requirements, available scientific research, generally accepted industry practices, or recommendations of food safety professionals.
(b) A person who documents compliance with the department’s rules, tomato good agricultural practices, and tomato best management practices is presumed to introduce tomatoes into the stream of commerce that are safe for human consumption, unless the department identifies noncompliance through inspections.
(5) Subsections (2) and (4) do not apply to tomatoes that are sold by the grower on the premises where the tomatoes are grown, at a local farmers’ market, at a U-pick operation, or at a roadside stand if the quantity of tomatoes sold does not exceed two 25-pound boxes per customer per day.
(6) Any person who produces, harvests, packs, or repacks tomatoes in this state and does not hold a food permit issued under s. 500.12 shall annually register each location of a tomato farm, tomato greenhouse, tomato packinghouse, or tomato repacker by August 1 on a form prescribed by the department. Any person who produces, harvests, packs, or repacks tomatoes at more than one location may submit one registration for all such locations but must provide the physical address of each location. The department may set by rule an annual registration fee not to exceed $500. Moneys collected pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited into the General Inspection Trust Fund.
(7) The department may adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this section.
History.s. 2, ch. 2010-25; s. 16, ch. 2011-206; s. 39, ch. 2014-150.