On August 24, Mr. Georgius Gotsis, Director of Eleven Rivers Growers – Veggies from Mexico on behalf of CAADES Sinaloa participated in the bilateral meeting between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – FDA, SENASICA, and COFEPRIS.
This meeting took place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Mexico City. The purpose of this meeting was to share the experiences of different agricultural organizations in food safety. SENASICA was represented by its Chief Director, Dr. Francisco Javier Trujillo Arriaga, as well as the General Director of Agrifood, Aquaculture and Fisheries Safety, Pharmaceutical Chemist Amada Vélez Méndez. On behalf of COFEPRIS, Ms. Miriam Jackeline Loera Rosales, General Director of International Affairs, was present, and on behalf of the FDA, Dr. Donald Prater, FDA Commissioner for Food Safety, Mr. Michael Rogers, Assistant Commissioner for Food and Feed Operations, and Office of Regulatory Events, and Michelle Rodriguez, Deputy Regional Director, Office of Latin America, OGPS.
In his welcome message, Dr. Trujillo mentioned the long history of bilateral collaboration between both institutions for the benefit of food safety practices in which they have been working for decades, as evidenced by several projects that have been carried out since the ’80s, such as various programs for tomatoes, papayas, and other products, some of them developed jointly with the support of CAADES.
Some of the agricultural organizations that participated were Veggies From Mexico – CAADES, APEAM, EMEX, PROEXPORT PAPAYA, ANEBERRIES as well as onion growers from the state of Chihuahua. The meeting was a complete success and had an estimated duration of three hours. CAADES presented the different food safety programs throughout the state of Sinaloa, ending with the Eleven Rivers Growers – Veggies from Mexico project, where the growers are unique in their class since they receive weekly audits that ensure the continuous compliance of the companies.
The event concluded intending to continue to collaborate and encourage this type of event to take place at least once a year. It is worth mentioning that this is the first time a meeting of this kind is held in which growers’ organizations in Mexico could exchange experiences with the U.S. authority.
In a previous meeting held on August 23, in which participated the heads of the National Service for Health, Safety and Agri-Food Quality (SENASICA), Francisco Javier Trujillo Arriaga, the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (COFEPRIS), Alejandro Svarch Perez, and the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (COFEPRIS), Alejandro Svarch Pérez, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Frank Yiannas, met to review the progress of the Alliance and define the objectives for next year, at the so-called 2022 Annual Meeting of the Food Safety Alliance.
Officials from both countries stated that this type of collaboration is essential due to the high volume of food trade between Mexico and the United States.
“Approximately one-third of all food imported into the United States comes from Mexico, including 60 percent of all imported fresh produce,” FDA said.
Svarch Perez noted that the relationship between Mexico and the FDA is a great example of cooperation that has been consolidated over the years, based on science, common interests, and trust, which has resulted in successful collaborations in food safety.
Frank Yiannas reaffirmed FDA’s commitment to work closely with SENASICA and COFEPRIS in activities to improve communication and monitoring, as well as to share its experience with new perspectives.
He explained that the Alliance is in line with the objectives of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety Plan, which has as its core elements technology-enabled traceability, smarter tools and approaches for outbreak prevention and response, new business models, and food safety culture.
Through the Alliance, U.S. and Mexican health agencies are focusing on four strategic priorities: preventing foodborne illnesses (FBD); improving coordination for outbreak response; harmonizing and coordinating the work of official regulatory laboratories; providing food safety training to industry and implementing preventive controls for food intended for human consumption.
The Annual Meeting of the Food Safety Alliance strengthens cooperation between SENASICA, COFEPRIS, and FDA and promotes combined actions and trust among the three institutions.
Mexico and the United States Consolidate Alliance for Food Safety | Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria | Government | gob.mx (www.gob.mx)