Produce industry weighs in on draft food import regs

In July, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA issued draft regulations designed to prevent contaminated foods from entering the country. The new regulations would rely on third-part audits and a new supplier verification program, rather then relying on inspections when products arrive at U.S. ports of entry.

The FDA this week is holding public meetings in Washington to gather feedback on the proposal.

Jim Gorny, vice president of food safety and technology for the Produce Marketing Association, praised the regulations’ reduced requirements for produce testing at the border.

“The Foreign Supplier Verification Programs proposed rule is incredibly important to the fresh produce industry because it provides the opportunity for FDA to shift from relying heavily on import surveillance and product testing at the port of entry, to a preventive approach of assuring the safety of imported produce,” Gorny said.

Gorny’s complete testimony is available here. PMA is expected to supply additional comments on Friday, when the public meeting resumes.

The import regulations were drafted in accordance with the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). The nation’s largest food safety update in 70 years, FSMA shifts the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.