Skip to main content


Produce Safety Three-Year Exemption Applications Open Through Jan. 31

South Carolina Department of Agriculture
Hugh E. Weathers, Commissioner

Media Contacts: Eva Moore, SCDA Communications Director, 803-734-2196,

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 16, 2024

Produce Safety Three-Year Exemption Applications Open Through Jan. 31

COLUMBIA – On January 1, 2024, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture began accepting applications for the Produce Safety Rule exemption.

To ease the burden on South Carolina farmers, we have transitioned the yearly Produce Safety Rule Exemption application to a three-year exemption application cycle. Farms now only need to apply for their Produce Safety Rule exemption every three years. Everyone who qualifies for exemption will apply during an application cycle. The current exemption cycle began on January 1 and will end on January 31, 2024 – giving farms a full month to reapply for exemption. Once farms are approved in January 2024, they will not need to reapply until January 2027.

If you aren’t sure where your farm operation falls in the above categories, please visit the exemption website to log in and view your farm’s current exemption status at

The Produce Safety Rule is part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) passed in 2011, which sets federal regulatory standards for the production, harvest, and handling of fruits and vegetables, in an effort to prevent microbial contamination and reduce foodborne illnesses associated with fresh produce.

Some growers may be excluded from inspection under the Rule based upon commodities grown, average annual produce sales, and/or personal/on-farm consumption. Some growers may be exempt based upon processing activities that include a “kill step”, or average annual food sales to “qualified end users.” However, farms that are exempt must apply for and be granted an exemption from SCDA.

Although application will only be required every three years, your signature for application certifies you will review your coverage status on an annual basis. If during your yearly review, you conclude that your farm is no longer exempt or excluded from the Produce Safety Rule, we ask that you contact SCDA to make us aware of the status change.

Please keep in mind that even with this change, exemptions can be revoked by SCDA under the following circumstances: SCDA is made aware or has reason to believe the applicant is not exempt from the Produce Safety Rule; concerns of public health significance; and/or a recall of produce that is a result of egregious farm conditions.

Please contact the Outreach team if you have any questions regarding these changes or need assistance in determining your farm’s status. Visit for contact information.


  • Posted in
  • Press Releases