F.D.A. seeks comments on fresh produce safety

by Food Safety Monitor Staff
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WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration issued a notice in the Feb. 17 Federal Register requesting comments on the development of safety standards for fresh produce at the farm and packing house, as well as on strategies and cooperative efforts to ensure compliance. The F.D.A. said it is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the safety initiative.

“We are committed to leveraging the expertise of our partner agencies and working together to ensure that our current produce safety and quality activities are complementary and consistent,” the two agencies said in a joint statement. “While U.S.D.A.’s Agricultural Marketing Service (A.M.S.) is in the midst of evaluating a proposed marketing agreement for the leafy green industry, the F.D.A. is currently developing a proposed produce safety regulation. It is our expectation that these products will take into account the diverse nature of farming operations and that any marketing agreement would conform to any regulations that may be promulgated by F.D.A.

“The success of these efforts depends on the feedback and comments we receive from growers and other produce safety stakeholders. A.M.S. will continue to review the comments that have been submitted to U.S.D.A. on the proposed marketing agreement.”

In its Federal Register notice, the F.D.A. said it is welcoming input on a range of categories, including the role of the good agricultural practice guidelines, standards for domestic and foreign growers and packers, the impact of scale of growing operations on the nature and degree of possible food safety hazards, and the coordination of produce food safety practices and sustainable and/or organic production methods.
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