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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The boards of the Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association have endorsed similar resolutions calling for a federal food safety regulatory framework to protect public health and enhance consumer confidence in produce safety.
"Both associations have reached an independent but common conclusion that produce safety standards must be federally mandated, risk-based and allow for commodity-specific regulation," said United Fresh chairman Emanuel Lazopoulos.
"Such standards should be uniform and should apply consistently to an individual commodity or commodity group regardless of its place of production," added PMA chairman Peter Goulet.
The organizations emphasized the FDA's need for proper funding and support from Congress, in order to provide leadership in setting commodity-specific produce safety standards and overseeing compliance.
As an example of the needed collaborative process, the associations pointed to joint industry and government efforts in California to develop quantifiable metrics for Good Agricultural Practices in leafy greens production, which can serve as a basis for FDA commodity-specific guidance for leafy greens GAPs that take into account variation in regional production and additional stakeholder input through a notice and comment period.
The United Fresh Board adopted its initial statement of principles for the most desirable produce safety regulatory framework at its meeting January 20, and reaffirmed those general principles at its meeting May 5 with additional explanation of its recommendations. The PMA Board adopted a resolution following its meeting April 28.