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The Produce Marketing Association this week submitted comments on behalf of its membership to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the proposed Mandatory Food Recall guidance, which is a key part of the provisions of the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
The draft guidance for industry provides answers to common questions that might arise when FDA invokes its mandatory recall authority and when finalized, will represent FDA’s current thinking on the issue, which has become one of the hottest and most critical industry topics, as discussed in a related PG blog post.
"PMA has long been a champion of produce safety, and when there's a reasonable probability that a food would cause a public health concern, rapid notification to consumers to avoid consumption is of the utmost urgency and necessity," said Jim Gorny, PMA's VP of food safety and technology. "However, with great authority comes great responsibility on the part of FDA to assure that a food under mandatory recall is indeed the food that is causing (or reasonably likely to cause) a public health threat. We agree that swift identification and recall is an absolute necessity, but at the same time, so is assuring to the greatest extent possible that the food has been correctly identified. We understand the significant economic impact this can have on a business, and that means these decisions cannot be taken lightly."
Continued Gorny, "We're asking FDA to provide rationale to the business responsible as to why they believe the food would cause a reasonable health concern, and then that business needs to be given a reasonable amount of time to make an informed decision with the information."
Food safety remains a top priority for our members and because of that FSMA has been prioritized as one of the top focuses for PMA. Termed "Issues Leadership," PMA's approach to issues relies on a combination of the association's strengths and the strengths of its member leaders, to focus on areas where together, they can make the most impact.
In regard to the importance of workable and sound guidance and rules from the FDA, Gorny noted: "Our main priority is to assure that when these regulations are finalized and implemented, they will best serve public health and our industry's food safety needs. These proposed FSMA rules and additional guidance documents will have profound business implications on every aspect of the global produce supply chain – they have to be right."