Not wasting a chance to seek relief and clarity in federal rules, produce industry groups are preparing to respond to an executive order from President Trump seeking ways to reduce the burden of regulations.
Earlier this year, Trump issued Executive Order 13771, requiring government agencies to search for ways to reduce regulatory burdens. For its part, the Food and Drug Administration published a notice in September inviting public comments on food safety regulations. The due date for public comments is Feb. 5.
Jim Gorny, vice president of food safety and technology for the Produce Marketing Association, and Jennifer McEntire, vice president of food safety and technology for the United Fresh Produce Association, have taken lead roles in composing industry comments centered around:
- FDA’s Listeria monocytogenes regulatory policy for raw, ready-to-eat agricultural commodities;
- Ag water provisions of the Produce Safety Rule; and
- Coverage of the Preventive Controls Rule versus the Produce Safety Rule for off-farm packinghouses and coolers.
Gorny said Dec. 4 that comments were being finalized with a range of produce groups and grower associations.
McEntire said the industry has been working on the three areas of focus with many conversations with regulators.
The industry is waiting for clarification regarding the coverage of the Preventive Controls Rule versus the Produce Safety Rule for off-farm packinghouses and coolers.
“We did want to take advantage of this opportunity to comment and say, hey, don’t forget about us,” she said.
The executive order provides another chance to tell the FDA what industry concerns are, McEntire said.
“We’ve made these comments, collectively, as an industry, before,” she said. “We’re not saying anything we haven’t said before and FDA has had the opportunity to act on our thoughts before — this is simply another opportunity to reiterate our message.”