Last Friday, October 28th, the North America Produce Food Safety Working Group meeting was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. This took place within the framework of the Global Produce and Floral Show of IFPA (formerly PMA & United shows).
Several public and private organizations related to the Fresh Produce Industry participated to make a contribution to benefit the safety of the food in North America.
The welcome oversaw the FPAA President Lance Jungmeyer, as well as Georgius Gotsis on behalf of CIDH/CAADES.
The first participation was by the director of the Texas International Produce Association, who shared the progress of the Mexican papaya food safety program.
Later, the FDA presented the progress of the FSP (Food Safety Partnership), which represents the collaboration of this U.S. agency with SENASICA and COFEPRIS to continue protecting public health by preventing diseases caused by food contamination using preventive practices supported by scientific and technical evidence. In addition to constant health surveillance and verification measures.
Some of the impacts of this program have been seen in collaboration with the papaya industry where more than 99% of growers are already trained on the food safety checklist. FSP also held two meetings with Mexican onion growers and packers to promote safety.
The Binational Outbreak Protocol was also improved, allowing for more effective and faster communication of contamination outbreak information between both governmental actors.
Finally, FDA, in collaboration with SENASICA and COFEPRIS, provided training to more than 400 growers of cilantro in Puebla, avocado in Jalisco, and onions in Chihuahua on the Produce Safety Rule (minimum safety standards for planting, harvesting, packing, and preservation of fruits and vegetables for human consumption).
Jennifer McEntire also participated in this meeting with information on the program: how to prepare for FDA audits as well as reports from the food safety industry.
Finally, there was a round table discussion on some of the challenges facing food safety in terms of training and auditing and how the public and private sectors can continue to collaborate and solve any food safety-related problems.