In recent months, farm sinks have been popping up in farmers markets, in markets for groceries, and on the shelves of grocery stores.
The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, which operates the farm sink system, said it’s seeing more sinkers appear in grocery stores, but it doesn’t have the data to gauge how many have been used, the Associated Press reported.
The agency’s food safety director, Dan Liss, told the AP the agency’s biggest concern with the sink program is that it isn’t accurate enough.
“We have some data that shows it’s not accurate enough,” he said.
“We do want to be able to see exactly what is going on with it, because we know we need to get that data in place.”
Liss told the news outlet the agency has “tremendous concerns” with the farm sinks, which it’s currently working on updating and adding more information to.
“The only thing that has been fixed is we’ve changed the name of it from the farm-sink program to the farm feed program, and that’s a major change,” he told the Associated News.
“But I can’t guarantee that the program is going to be accurate.”
According to USDA data, there were nearly 7 million farm sinks nationwide in 2017, including some 3.3 million that were used.
In its annual Farm Sink Survey, USDA reported that in 2018, there was a 3.6% increase in the number of farm sinks used.
The survey also showed that during that year, 1,091,000 pounds of feed were added to farm sinks for food safety inspections.
The Farm Sinks Improvement Program is one of the USDA’s primary tools for improving food safety in the agricultural industry, according to USDA’s website.
The program offers incentives for the use of farm sink food safety measures and encourages farmers to implement the changes.
“In 2017, the program saved more than $8.6 billion in food-safety costs, and the results have been great,” Liss said.