Advancing Food Safety Through Collaboration

Written by Tim York

Last week we had the opportunity to host thirteen U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff members on an educational tour here in the Salinas Valley. The goal of this tour was to inform FDA of current industry practices and have an open dialogue about opportunities for improvement.

Most attendees traveled across the country to join the tour. Of the attendees, ten work at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), and three work at the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA). CIFSAN makes produce safety policies and ORA acts in a compliance and enforcement role at FDA.

Participants looked at leafy greens field operations and processing facilities with a special focus on equipment design and sanitation. On day one the group visited a processing facility, an equipment manufacturing facility, and a field demonstration of harvest equipment sanitation. On day two the group viewed farming and harvest operations and another processing facility. On day three the group saw two different growing and harvest operations and then had a roundtable discussion to wrap things up.

This tour provided the LGMA an opportunity to inform FDA about current industry practices and to hear their latest thoughts on food safety. Collaboration through events like this help both the farming community and regulators to continue to advance food safety. We hope to repeat this activity in the next year to continue this collaboration.

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