Comments are due on April 22 on the Food and Drug Administration's Guide to Minimize Food Safety Hazards of Fresh-cut Produce: Draft Guidance for Industry.

Here are a couple of anonymous comments:

  •  I agree with the regulation regarding the food safety hazards of fresh cut produce. Working in the health care industry, I have witnessed the side effects of diseases that occur as a result of cross contaminated food consumed. I believe methods of prevention is our first defense in reducing food safety hazards. As a consumer, it is important to have confidence in an industry that provides our nations food supply. Also, being able to purchase fresh cut produce has become such a high demand item in stores, the selection is expected to be safe. Having controls in place that regulate food facilities sets a standard for public health security. They also place an even greater emphasis on facilities being compliant. This leaves no reason for non-compliance since facilities are provided and updated guide to follow. As consumer, I would be very disturbing to find out food facilities were taking short-cuts and jeopardizing food safety. I am glad to know another rule is being proposed regarding this federal regulation. It is important for citizens to supported in their rights to be heard, as well be notified about rulings that affect them. With any policy and/ or regulation already in place it is a good idea to analyze and evaluate periodically. Research is ongoing, that has shown evidence of recurring and new food borne illness that appear in foods we consume daily as a nation.

 

  •  Although food borne illnesses may be commonly overlooked while purchasing produce, it can be a huge issue. I support the changes made in this law and the intentions behind them. When altering the state of produce there should be many procedures undergone to ensure the safety for those consuming them. A main concern for consumers is the potential for food borne illnesses such as E. coli or salmonella. In the past these outbreaks have affected a vast amount of people; unfortunately, undetectable within the food until after being contaminated. By enacting more precautionary measures this issue can hopefully be minimized. A few measures that can be taken are strengthened hygiene of the employees and facility, routinely monitored disinfection of the machines or utensils used, routine change of gloves by employees, and a final wash of the produce before being packaged.Hygiene within the facilities is clearly very important. Being that foodborne illness can be transmitted by touch from produce to produce a measure that should be taken is regular glove change by the employees. This will guarantee that contamination is limited. Additionally, regular disinfection of the machinery used to cut, chop, slice etc. the produce is a measure to also limit the spread of potential illness. If these measures were monitored and regulated more closely, potential risks can be minimized. 

 

Industry leaders are enthusiastic in a measured way.

United Fresh Produce Association provided this, more specific, input:

We appreciate FDA’s recognition that, while fresh-cut produce falls squarely under the Preventive Controls Rule, it is dissimilar from most foods covered by the rule in that it lacks a kill step. Thus, a guidance document specific to the fresh-cut produce industry is warranted and appreciated. We recognize that FDA is in the process of releasing several chapters that provide guidance on various aspects of the Preventive Controls Rule. These chapters are broadly applicable and are understandably cross referenced in the fresh-cut document, as is the FDA guidance pertaining to Listeria monocytogenes. However, there are some critical voids in the draft fresh-cut guidance because it refers to chapters of the general Preventive Controls guidance that have not yet been released. Most notably, the fresh-cut guidance does not address questions pertaining to the circumstances in which temperature control must be used to address food safety, versus quality. We look forward to the availability of all chapter so that FDA’s recommendations and expectations can be viewed in totality.

 

TK: While the public is glad there is "one more rule" on produce safety proposed, will it add clarity to the industry's understanding of what it must do?  Bridging that distance from good intention to plain instruction is the hardest part.

 

 

 
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