PMA Urges Food Safety Benchmarks

Rather than just updating its voluntary food safety guidance for fresh produce, FDA would better serve the produce industry’s guidance needs by developing benchmarking guidance and validating resulting food safety standards, Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has told the agency.

PMA’s comments came in response to the agency’s recent request for public input on how it might update its 1998 “Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables,” which contains voluntary guidance for produce suppliers.

“We urge the agency to go beyond merely providing updated voluntary guidance, to instead develop benchmarking guidance that would serve as a framework for developing and assessing public- or private-sector food safety standards on a global basis,” Chief Science Officer Dr. Bob Whitaker wrote to the agency in comments PMA submitted on Dec. 30, 2008.

Noting that large and small produce suppliers alike are facing increasing pressure to comply with a proliferating variety of customers’ food safety standards, and at considerable expense, PMA urged FDA to develop risk- and science-based standards to reduce the marketplace’s current confusion and variability. The association also urged the agency to take leadership of evaluating resulting standards against those benchmarks, to “recognize valid comprehensive food safety standards or disapprove those which are found lacking.”

“This would mark a monumental shift in FDA practice [that] would catapult the agency from the passive role of offering voluntary guidance, to actively mandating GAP programs measured by FDA against its benchmark,” Whitaker wrote. “Perhaps as never before, we are faced with an opportunity to clarify approaches to produce food safety, drive harmonization in food safety standards and audits, reinforce the importance of risk- and science-based improvements to current practices across the entire supply chain, and to address the growing wariness of consumers regarding the safety of fresh produce.”

To view PMA’s full comments to FDA, visit http://www.pma.com/issues/foodsafety.cfm. Dr. Whitaker’s blog on food safety and related topics, “Ask Dr. Bob,” can be accessed at http://askdrbob.pma.com/
 

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

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

The Latest

CitrusLuke Bryan Pays It Forward For Farming
September 23, 2014
Country superstar honors agriculture with his Farm Tour. Read More
IrrigationFlorida Growers Seize Control Of Water Challenges
September 22, 2014
New irrigation projects and fertilizer practices have tremendous potential for protecting resources, while enhancing productivity. Read More
CitrusNew Superhero Aims To Save Florida Citrus
September 22, 2014
Unique marketing partnership comes to life through comics. Read More
Apples & PearsKasumin Now Registered For Fire Blight Control
September 22, 2014
EPA approves use of bactericide on pome fruit as disease management tool. Read More
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