Produce, Sprouts, and Mushrooms


The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) provides basic guidelines for food safety regulations. The FSMA Produce Safety Rule (PSR) provides basic food safety oversight for certain types of fresh produce, with the goal of preventing foodborne illness rather than responding to it after it occurs. 

Very few Alaskan farms will be subject to the full extent of the FSMA PSR. Criteria for farms that fall under these federal requirements are based on the size of the farm and whether they sell to a qualified end user. The PSR requirements apply to the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of certain types of whole, unprocessed produce that are generally consumed raw. This is due to the increased risk posed by microbial contamination in fruits and vegetables that are not processed or cooked before consumption.

This section is referenced from where you can learn more about it.


The Produce Safety Rule (PSR) requires growers to:

  • Ensure agricultural water is safe for its intended purpose
  • Enact worker health, hygiene, and food safety training measures
  • Treat and use soil amendments properly (compost, manure, fish waste)
  • Prevent contamination of produce by wild and domestic animals
  • Provide for safe handling of produce
  • Provide for proper construction, maintenance, and cleaning of equipment, buildings, and tools used to store and handle produce
  • Keep certain records

These requirements do NOT apply to food that is consumed on the farm, commodities that are generally cooked before being consumed, or to produce that is destined for commercial processing that will adequately reduce the presence of microorganisms. There are additional requirements for growing sprouts, due to the high incidence of foodborne illness associated with them.


Individuals who want to sell sprouts over the food hub must have a DEC food establishment permit. Sprouts are not exempt under the cottage food regulations.  Food hub managers should make sure that any vendors selling sprouts are properly permitted. 

Sprouts are different from microgreens. Sprouts are usually harvested when the cotyledons (i.e. seed leaves) are still un- or underdeveloped and true leaves have not begun to emerge.  Microgreens reach a later stage of growth and are typically associated with having “true” leaves. Unlike sprouts, microgreens are typically grown in soil or substrate and harvested above the soil or substrate line. 


Farm-produced mushrooms are considered as a raw agricultural product and do not have any specific regulatory requirements for selling them through a food hub. 

Mushrooms that are picked in the wild must be conspicuously identified by a label, placard, or menu notation that states the common and usual name of the mushroom, and the statement, “Wild mushrooms, not an inspected product”.

DEC strongly recommends that mushrooms are harvested and confirmed as edible by an individual who has experience in identifying mushrooms.  Individuals who eat toxic mushrooms could have permanent organ damage or death. Food hub managers should ensure that individuals who are selling mushrooms are knowledgeable and following safe foraging practices.


Resources for identifying mushrooms in Alaska:

Mushrooms of the National Forests in Alaska

Collecting, Preserving & Using Morel Mushrooms

UAF Cooperative Extension Service: Collecting, Preserving & Using Morel Mushrooms

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