Fresh produce issues are front and center in the two-year program priority plan just unveiled by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, a sub-agency of the Food and Drug Administration.

Reducing the incidence and risk potential of foodborne illnesses are among the goals cited in the plan, which covers food, dietary supplements and cosmetics. Many of the priorities listed are required by the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Among the 2014 goals is completion of projects related to the risk of microbiological hazards associated with salmonella contamination of fresh-cut tomatoes and peppers.

Also due in 2014 is the draft of a proposed rule on recordkeeping requirements for high-risk foods to facilitate tracing. The agency also wants to publish a proposed preventive control rule for safely transporting food.

Other goals on the priority list:

  •  Develop for publication in 2015 the final preventive controls rule for produce safety;
  •  Develop for publication in 2015 the final rule on accreditation of third party auditors;
  •  Establish metrics, including data acquired through outbreaks, for evaluating the effectiveness of preventive controls;
  •  Address approach to determine most significant foodborne contaminants to meet FSMA requirements;
  •  Address approach to determine high-risk foods to meet FSMA requirements; and
  •  Issue a draft of updated good agricultural practices guidance.

Complete details on all of the priorities and lists of goals to help the government meet Congressional mandates are available on the center’s website at: