With input from university researchers and produce trade groups, she said FMI is developing a food safety document for retailers who buy from small local growers, which will also spell out produce handling practices at retail.
Giclas said Western Growers is focusing on requirements for water testing intervals.
“Is that really an effective expenditure of resources?” he said.
He also said the produce safety regulation must be able to evolve over time with ongoing research, he said.
Giclas said he hopes collaboration with government and growers continue in the form of food safety-focused marketing agreements and marketing orders.
The Center for Produce Safety at the University of California-Davis has successfully brought together industry, government and academic partners for needed produce safety research, Giclas said.
He also mentioned food safety plans by growers of California and Arizona leafy greens, California cantaloupess, and Florida and California tomatoes. Those groups have adopted industry-led preventive practices, funded by growers and verified by state and federal inspectors.
Responding to a question about the 2012 demise of the USDA’s Microbiological Data Program, Giclas said the program didn’t deliver on its initial promise for helpful research.
“The produce industry was hopeful for a better understanding of where things were breaking down in the supply chain, but we never got that out of the program,” he said.