The Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis (CPS) today announced it collaborated with nine leading grower-shippers to host nearly two dozen federal, state and local regulators for field and facility tours.
Agencies represented at the two-day program included the U.S. Food and Drug Administrtation (FDA), which regulates fresh produce nationally, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
With stops in Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Monterey counties, the program offered regulators direct exposure to the methods used to grow, harvest, and pack key California commodities—including tomatoes, lettuce and melons.
"The goal was to promote informed dialogue among regulators and grower-shippers about current food safety practices in Northern California, " said CPS Chairman Tim York, President of Markon Cooperative.
“In the process, we hope folks learned more about CPS—we are here to facilitate research while also helping educate interested stakeholders about real‐world, on‐the‐ground conditions and practices.”
Sam Duda, vice president of Duda Farm Fresh Foods, led a tour of celery harvesting and packing. “We know the regulators have tough jobs,” he commented. “Most growers are innovating every season, but it’s our responsibility to demonstrate the investments we are making across the board, including in food safety.”
“It was a great opportunity to see a diverse range of current practices first hand.” said Michelle Smith of FDA. “It was also an opportunity to talk directly with CPS staff, other agencies, and the producers about produce safety challenges and how we might collaborate in the future.”
Based on positive response to the program, CPS plans to host additional events for regulators to learn about regional‐ and commodity‐specific practices—from cultivation to distribution.Twitter | Facebook