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

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

Food SafetyUSDA Issues Updates To Food Safety Modernization Act
September 19, 2014
Water testing, definition of applicable farms based on produce sales among clarifications to proposed rules. Read More
GrapesThird Straight Record Crop For Washington Grapes
September 19, 2014
Numbers expected to climb as more vines planted in the state. Read More
GrapesFrench Winegrowers Face Higher Labor Costs
September 19, 2014
French wineries may come under added financial pressure as the government considers imposing social charges on wages paid to harvest workers with short-term contracts. Read More
IrrigationCalifornia Boosts Local Water Control
September 19, 2014
Governor Jerry Brown signs historic legislation to strengthen local management and monitoring of critical groundwater basins. Read More
VegetablesSakata Seed America Shows Heart Through Charitable Prog…
September 19, 2014
Company’s corporate giving mission bears fruit for the American Heart Association. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateAdditional Aid Coming For Florida Citrus Growers Gouged…
September 17, 2014
Through USDA’s Tree Assistance Program, eligible growers can cash in on cost share for diseased tree removal and replanting. Read More
FruitsFlorida Fruit & Vegetable Association Seeks Fresh A…
September 17, 2014
New partnership bolsters Fresh From Florida program. Read More
CitrusFDA Announces Cooperative Agreement To Implement Nation…
September 17, 2014
Agreement will provide information to help plan and carry out the produce safety rule in partnership with state regulatory agencies. Read More
NutsAchieving A Super-Premium Walnut Crop
September 17, 2014
What are the best ways to get high quality walnuts that are light in color and fully developed? Read these 8 harvest best practices to find out. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers Highly Dependent On Groundwater
September 17, 2014
Fully 87% of large growers use groundwater to irrigate their trees. Read More
NutsWarm Winter And Drought Casting Doubt On Pistachio Harv…
September 17, 2014
Though Rabobank report says that one billion pounds still attainable by 2019. Read More
Crop ProtectionBagrada Bug On The Move In California
September 16, 2014
Find out more on management tactics and what counties are impacted by this invasive pest. Read More
Cucurbits14 Stand-Out Melon Varieties [Slideshow]
September 15, 2014
Browse the slideshow below for information on these exceptional melon varieties from the nation’s leading seed breeders and distributors. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardView Highlights From The 2014 United Fresh Washington P…
September 15, 2014
Browse this slideshow to view photos from the 2014 United Fresh Washington Public Policy Conference, including pictures of this year’s Grower Read More
Apples & PearsCanneries Hope To Encourage Growers To Grow Pears For P…
September 15, 2014
Higher wholesale prices offered as means to boost canning pear acres. Read More
FruitsDeadline Nearing For Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistanc…
September 15, 2014
Fruit growers who suffered losses due to frost or freeze in 2012 could be eligible for assistance through USDA’S Farm Service Agency. Read More
BerriesBotrytis Gray Mold Pressure Increasing With Humid Weath…
September 15, 2014
Michigan State University researcher offers tips to reduce the spread of spores. Read More
Fruits5 Mistakes You May Be Making With Your Orchard’s …
September 15, 2014
These deadly sins may be hurting your customers’ experience — and costing you money. Read More