Agency applauds produce industry traceability efforts
Traceability mandates will also be impossible to meet without more money, according to the FDA report.
“FDA cannot be in the position of requiring or approving a specific tracing system or systems,” according to the report. “The produce industry has appropriately taken a leadership role with instituting several initiatives to improve tracing produce through the supply chain; however, there is inconsistent adoption by industry.”
Those initiatives have improved response times during produce-related outbreaks, according to the report, but data collected during outbreaks cannot be used efficiently because of antiquated information technology at the federal, state and local levels.
“Significant challenges exist in tracing produce and other foods in an outbreak,” according to the report. “There are several reasons for this including drastic cuts in state and local budgets.”
Even if the FDA and state and local agencies had enough money for current technology, there are other roadblocks.
“FDA is limited by statute in its ability to share certain types of information even with our state and local partners. … legislative changes to our ability to share critical information during an emergency may be necessary” the report states.