Touching on the Food and Drug Administration’s letter to the papaya industry, food safety testing and other topics, The Packer’s Tom Karst spoke with Jennifer McEntire of the United Fresh Produce Association on Sept. 13.
McEntire, vice president of food safety and technology for United Fresh, spoke about upcoming food safety training opportunities from United Fresh..
Here is an excerpt from the conversation:
Tom Karst : I wanted to ask you about a couple things. And I know you had some training (session) you want to talk about as well. But what about the FDA letter to the papaya industry and other industry organizations? What do you think is the takeaway from that letter and the context of them?
Jennifer McEntire: I wasn’t particularly surprised by the letter, the fact that it issued a letter, the gist of the letter, or the contents of the letter because it’s not too dissimilar from the letters that FDA issued to the romaine industry, the leafy greens industry a little while back. And while one could argue that when there are outbreaks, they are really the result of practices and not (linked) to whole commodities, the fact of the matter is that we do see some commodities that seem to have continued issues, and it does beg the question, what are the practices within this commodity as a whole?
(Should) the various players within that commodity be getting together to discuss what are we doing? What are the best practices? Leafy greens, tomatoes, melons and others have gotten together (to talk about food safety). So is it time for papayas to get together and talk about what they’re doing share best practices on? That’s something that I think, is a very reasonable request. And I know that it’s something that many within the papayas industry are looking at too.
Karst: This is a busy time of year for United and yourself and that the Washington Conference coming up and after that a couple trainings. What is going on in your world?
Watch the video for the full interview..