With the comment period ending in mid-November, the produce industry has weighed in on the proposed Food and Drug Administration rules commonly called the produce safety and preventive control rules.
This input, led by national, regional and commodity trade associations, should help the FDA construct risk-based regulations that help the food supply become safer while not unnecessarily adding costs.
In general, produce associations are sounding alarm over the FDA’s so-called “one-size-fits-all” approach to diverse fresh produce growing operations. At the same time objecting to “one size fits all,” various industry comments don’t like exemptions from the regulations based on size of operation or whether the item is rarely consumed raw.
Comments from various associations ask FDA to require growers to manage the risks identified in the Produce Safety Rule, but to move all quantitative metrics to accompanying guidance documents.
Produce association comments also state that the FDA’s designation of “farm mixed-type facility” may burden packinghouses that pack and hold raw, intact fresh produce with regulations that better apply to food processing facilities.
Small farmers and consumer advocacy groups will have other points of emphasis for the FDA. In fact, some of the recommendations from the industry may be opposite to what others would want the agency to do.
The FDA’s task to sort out the competing agendas will be difficult, but the industry’s input on keeping the regulations flexible and appropriate for risk should be heeded as the FDA moves forward.