Produce safety rule will have plenty of editors

03/01/2013 12:20:00 PM
Tom Karst

National Editor Tom Karst Well, there is not panic in the streets the first day of sequester cuts, as Congress weighs the fallout and speculates on the arrival of a grand bargain.

But there is no reason to be giddy, despite the temptation to do so. Personal income statistics  in January were glum, the Commerce Department reports. The March 1 report showed that personal income decreased 3.6% in January, owing mainly to a rise in employee contributions for social security. Not a lot of extra cash for fresh produce, perhaps.

The February Agricultural Prices report  showed lower prices for lettuce, corn, broccoli but higher prices for celery and oranges.

 Check out the editing done on the produce safety rule by the Office of Management and Budget after the FDA submitted it.

The OMB won’t be the last time the document sees a red pen or the delete key. Here one commenter on the produce safety rule finds an issue with the compost provision.

 To whom it may concern. In response to a grower question in regards to GAPs I spent considerable time a while back attempting to find regulation information as to what constitutes safe compost. To my knowledge there is no standard. This is likely because scientific studies showing how long it takes for bacteria in compost to be consumed by other organisms or diluted to non-detectable levels is highly variable and inconclusive. Thus the part of the regulation which states that growers must "Growers, or commercial compost suppliers, must provide proof through laboratory testing that the composting process was adequate to make it safe to use" is going to cause much confusion. I don't think there is a scientifically based way to comply with this piece of the regulation.

The preventive controls safety rule has also attracted some attention. One California grower wrote this:

 As a grower of fruits and vegetables in California, I am well aware of the challenges of bringing quality product to the marketplace. My concern with the Proposed Rule, is one of liability to the grower. It seems unfair that growers are liable from "womb to tomb" or from field, to hauling, to warehouse #1, then back on another truck to direct store drops. Much handling occurs in this process which brings into play more chances of bacteria that are not caused by the grower. However the grower is the one who has to accept responsibility and defend himself in lawsuits. Therefore I urge you to hold accountable for good practices policies for all components of the food chain, not limited to the grower.

 

Other hotlinks

USDA FAS on the Russian organic market

USDA Food Price Outlook

USDA state facts

Green City hydroponics in Cleveland

Pulp fiction: Made in China tomato paste touted as Italian



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