As we trudge along in food safety at the farm level, the sense of desperation is obvious, but there is hope and movement forward.
Not only is the produce industry reeling from the recent food safety disasters in its products, the pressure is on in the labor market and on the economic front. Growers and packers of fresh fruits and vegetables seem just as isolated as any group in their problem. They are seeking help, and this is positive, and the answer may be a more cooperative approach.
We in food safety must realize we are superimposing a self-regulatory and soon to be regulatory framework on an industry that has not had this to deal with. FDA is supporting industry efforts to self-regulate, and the two together can accomplish much, but we still need produce industry specifications for suppliers based on sound science.
The article below makes a point of the need for cooperative efforts amongst industry and government. Part of that is for FDA to ensure that the standards industry uses to assure safety are effective in very diverse crops.
Some of the audio is a bit garbled, but Tony Piedimonte of Florida’s Wm P Hearne company makes some salient points about the industry stance.
Thanks to the Packer for covering the following story.