FDA, USDA, And Cornell University Join Forces For Produce Safety

A public-private organization will provide produce growers and packagers with fundamental, on-farm food safety knowledge, in advance of a proposed produce safety regulation, FDA, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and Cornell University announced this week.

The new Produce Safety Alliance is a three-year, $1.15 million partnership funded by the FDA and USDA. It will be housed at Cornell University through a grant from AMS. Cornell’s national GAPs program has been a leader in the development of materials on GAPs and in its dissemination of food safety knowledge to the agricultural community.

Key elements of the alliance’s work include:
• Developing a standardized, but multi-formatted and multi-lingual education program on GAPs and co-management;
• Creating an information bank of up-to-date scientific and technical information related to on-farm and packinghouse produce safety, environmental co-management, and eventually the FDA’s proposed produce safety rule;
• Launching a website to make the alliance’s work and information readily accessible;
• Establishing a network of educational collaborators;
• Conducting an assessment of existing educational outreach tools to identify knowledge gaps and to provide for continuous updating;
• Working with partners on the steering committee and others to develop and deliver train-the-trainer materials and sessions.

In 2011, the FDA is expected to issue a proposed rule on the safe production, harvesting, and packing of produce. The alliance is aimed at giving produce growers and packers training and educational materials and opportunities to learn about current risk-and science-based best food safety practices, and future regulatory requirements.

“As we traveled around the country listening to growers and packers and soliciting their comments even before we propose a produce safety rule, we have committed ourselves to just this kind of collaborative effort,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael R. Taylor. “We also know that small growers and packers are especially interested in the kind of hands-on training and support envisioned by the alliance.”

The alliance will have representatives from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), land grant universities, growers and shippers, produce trade organizations, and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, joining FDA, AMS, and Cornell officials on the alliance’s steering committee.

“The alliance is another sign of our commitment to working with growers and packers and our federal partners at FDA to make certain that our marketplace is economically strong and provides American families the safe, fresh produce they need for healthy diets,” said Ann Wright, Deputy Under Secretary, Marketing and Regulatory Programs, USDA.

“In our 12-plus years of working with growers and packers on how best to implement GAPs, we have seen how much they want to do the right thing and meet the industry demand for food safety,” said Betsy Bihn, coordinator of Cornell University’s National GAPs Program. “What growers and packers want is science-based information they can use in the fields and the packinghouses to improve food safety practices in practical ways. Our goal is to meet that need today and down the road as FDA moves forward in its rulemaking process.”

Taylor and Wright noted that voluntary and contractual produce safety standards already are in use by many producers nationwide and said that the alliance will take those into account in developing its materials. The work of the alliance also will be based on the co-management approach of integrating food safety and environmental protection efforts, they said.

“This effort builds on the collaborative effort we have led over the past three years to develop a model produce safety code for our members,” said AFDO President Ron Klein. “We welcome an opportunity to share what we have learned and move forward everyone’s goal of ensuring the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables.”

“Whether they are large, small, or somewhere in between, what our farmers want and need is hands-on practical information, and we see the Produce Safety Alliance as a vital way to develop that information and deliver it in a timely and effective way,” said North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler, chair of NASDA’s Food Safety Committee.

The FDA and USDA will issue updates on the progress and activities of the Produce Safety Alliance in the coming months.
 

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
girl on smartphone
GenNext Growers
June 24, 2017
Find the Food Safety Apps That Are Right for You
There are a lot of choices available for growers. We’ve sifted through them to help figure out which ones will best suit you. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 23, 2017
Take Advantage of Technology to Help Manage Diseases, Pest Pressure
Expert farm advisers provide several options for apple orchard management decisions. Read More
Mobile technology farming
Citrus
June 22, 2017
Technology Boom Boosting Farm Life to a New Level [Opinion]
Whether it is human genetics or genetics applied to plants, knowledge is growing at a dizzying pace. Read More
Crop Protection
June 21, 2017
Certis Bolsters Biopesticide Business Portfolio with Acquisition
Addition of LAM International to allow for expansion of product development. Read More
Food Safety
June 21, 2017
Organization Seeks Winegrape Exemption Produce Safety Rule
California Association of Winegrape Growers says because winegrapes are grown for processing, they should be exempt from produce safety rule. Read More
Crop Protection
June 21, 2017
Early-Season Scouting Tips for Sweet Corn Growers
Black cutworm and true armyworm have been caught in relatively high numbers across the Midwest, including Michigan. Learn more about determining risk and scouting in your sweet corn plantings. Read More
honeybee with varroa mite
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Study Suggests Modern Beekeeping Gives Varroa Mites Ideal Conditions to Spread
Parasite has adapted, thrived with colonies in modern hives. Read More
More Vegetables
June 21, 2017
Variety Specs | Production Tips: Pumpkin ‘Bayhorse Gold’ from Rupp Seeds
Each month, American Vegetable Grower® will offer growing tips on specific varieties, supplied by the breeder or distributor. This month, Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Your Crops
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
Citrus greening and psyllids
Insect & Disease Update
June 21, 2017
First Case of Deadly Citrus Disease Confirmed in Alabama
State agriculture officials taking action to assess and stop the spread of HLB.  Read More
Florida orange juice label close-up
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Help Consumers Read past Negative Headlines About Orange Juice
When it comes to this liquid sunshine, there are plenty of positives to point out. Read More
Cucurbit leaf crumple virus
Cucurbits
June 20, 2017
Take Caution to Curb Cucurbit Leaf Crumple Virus
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Berries
June 20, 2017
Don’t Be Fooled By Rust in Your Brambles
Knowing whether you have orange rust disease or cane leaf rust is important for proper control methods. Read More
Up-close shot of a hops plant during the 2016 Florida Ag Expo
Farm Management
June 20, 2017
5 Alternative Crops Florida Farmers Should Consider
Here’s a look at new selections being vetted that might have a place in fields around the Sunshine State. Read More
Citrus
June 19, 2017
$9M in Grants Allocated to Address Ag Water Resources Issues
Projects that focus on drought stress, flooding, water quality, and postharvest use are among awardees. Read More
The Latest
GenNext Growers
June 24, 2017
Find the Food Safety Apps That Are Right…
There are a lot of choices available for growers. We’ve sifted through them to help figure out which ones will best suit you. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 23, 2017
Take Advantage of Technology to Help Man…
Expert farm advisers provide several options for apple orchard management decisions. Read More
Citrus
June 22, 2017
Technology Boom Boosting Farm Life to a …
Whether it is human genetics or genetics applied to plants, knowledge is growing at a dizzying pace. Read More
Crop Protection
June 21, 2017
Certis Bolsters Biopesticide Business Po…
Addition of LAM International to allow for expansion of product development. Read More
Food Safety
June 21, 2017
Organization Seeks Winegrape Exemption P…
California Association of Winegrape Growers says because winegrapes are grown for processing, they should be exempt from produce safety rule. Read More
Crop Protection
June 21, 2017
Early-Season Scouting Tips for Sweet Cor…
Black cutworm and true armyworm have been caught in relatively high numbers across the Midwest, including Michigan. Learn more about determining risk and scouting in your sweet corn plantings. Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Study Suggests Modern Beekeeping Gives V…
Parasite has adapted, thrived with colonies in modern hives. Read More
More Vegetables
June 21, 2017
Variety Specs | Production Tips: Pumpkin…
Each month, American Vegetable Grower® will offer growing tips on specific varieties, supplied by the breeder or distributor. This month, Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Y…
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
June 21, 2017
First Case of Deadly Citrus Disease Conf…
State agriculture officials taking action to assess and stop the spread of HLB.  Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Help Consumers Read past Negative Headli…
When it comes to this liquid sunshine, there are plenty of positives to point out. Read More
Cucurbits
June 20, 2017
Take Caution to Curb Cucurbit Leaf Crump…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Berries
June 20, 2017
Don’t Be Fooled By Rust in Your Brambles
Knowing whether you have orange rust disease or cane leaf rust is important for proper control methods. Read More
Farm Management
June 20, 2017
5 Alternative Crops Florida Farmers Shou…
Here’s a look at new selections being vetted that might have a place in fields around the Sunshine State. Read More
Citrus
June 19, 2017
$9M in Grants Allocated to Address Ag Wa…
Projects that focus on drought stress, flooding, water quality, and postharvest use are among awardees. Read More
Citrus
June 19, 2017
How to Get the Most out of Growing Citru…
2017 Citrus Achievement Award winner Ed Pines provides insider information on unique production method. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
June 19, 2017
Florida Growers Seeking to Strike Citrus…
Varieties showing HLB tolerance giving growers hope, sparking more questions. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 19, 2017
Bee-ware: New Resources Released for Nat…
New videos, webinars available during week-long observance. Read More