FSMA delay doesn’t embrace food safety culture

10/25/2013 10:55:00 AM
Greg Johnson

Strain also said the rules need to give an even playing field to local, large national and foreign suppliers alike.

“We can’t put local at a disadvantage,” he said.

Delaying rules to make sure they’re right and able to be implemented correctly certainly makes sense, but it seems to me that local, smaller growers are at an advantage when it comes to the small farm exemption in the rules.

It also seems to me that importers are hardly looking at the foreign supplier verification program as an advantage.

“I see it as the opposite,” said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Nogales, Ariz.-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

“To bring produce into the U.S., importers will have to prove they meet FSMA standards. You don’t have to do that in the U.S., only if you have an audit.”

Jungmeyer said his association also supports the delay and second comment period. The United Fresh Produce Association lent its support for the delay in late September.

“We need a food safety benefit, not just cost with no benefits,” Jungmeyer said.

The delay is a good idea, but the industry will have to be careful in how it requests it. It can’t be seen as being against food safety, even though that’s clearly not the case.

While the delay is the reasonable business solution, it doesn’t exactly embrace the “food safety culture” discussed in the Oct. 18 Fresh Summit workshop.

gjohnson@thepacker.com

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