produce safety proposed rule

FDA photo

PULLMAN, Wash. – Food growers, packers and processors are invited to discuss food safety policy and proposed regulations with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this month. Registration is required through Washington State University Extension at http://bit.ly/18PPj6M but the event is free to the public.

A two-hour session will be 2:30-4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12, at Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario, Ore. A day-long session will be 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the Howard Johnson hotel in Yakima, Wash. 

Participants will discuss the proposed standards for growing, harvesting, packing and holding produce for human consumption (proposed produce rule) under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011. The FDA will accept public comments on the proposed rule through Nov. 16; to submit comments, go to http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm334114.htm and scroll down to the “Commenting” area.

“Increasing dialogue between stakeholders and the FDA will assist in understanding challenges with the proposed rule,” said Karen Killinger, associate professor at WSU Extension. “It is crucial that food industry representatives submit constructive comments to the FDA to provide potential options for consideration.”

Information regarding alternatives and variances to certain provisions of the proposed rule will be emphasized and discussed in more detail than in previous sessions. Agricultural water use and other specific aspects of the proposed regulations will be discussed by produce safety experts including Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.

The FSMA represents the most comprehensive reform of food regulation in more than 70 years. A key component is a mandate to shift food safety efforts from reaction to prevention.

University employees and state regulatory agencies will be active partners in implementing programs to help growers, packers and processors comply with the new rules.

“We have strong partnerships among state agencies, universities and stakeholder groups for food safety education efforts,” said Claudia Coles, Washington State Department of Agriculture. “This is an excellent opportunity to engage with FDA regarding the proposed rules.”

The event is organized by a multi-state team involving the WSU-University of Idaho School of Food Science, Oregon State University and the three state departments of agriculture.