The United States and Mexico have come together to promote the safety of fresh agricultural products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the government of Mexico’s National Service for Agro-Alimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) and Federal Commission for the Protection from Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) plan to collaborate to establish practices that prevent contamination during the growing, harvesting, packing, cooling and transportation of fresh fruits and vegetables and create verification measures to ensure the preventive practices are effective. On July 21, 2014 the three agencies signed a statement of intent to implement a variety of food-safety initiatives. The two-page document includes the following plans:
- To exchange information to better understand each other’s produce safety systems
- To develop effective culturally specific education and outreach materials that support industry compliance with produce safety standards
- To identify common approaches for training auditors who will verify compliance
- To enhance collaboration on laboratory activities, outbreak response, and traceback activities
The intentions of the partnership line up well with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), an act which shifts the focus from responding to food contamination to preventing it. Like the statement of intent signed by the U.S. and Mexico, FSMA’s operational strategy includes plans to collaborate with other agencies to create an integrated global food safety network and to develop education for the industry. Both the partnership and FSMA also place more responsibility on the industry to implement preventative measures at all points across the farm-to-table spectrum. With half of U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable imports in 2013 coming from Mexico, the partnership should prove beneficial. FSMA was signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama on January 4th, 2011. Since Mexico makes up such a large portion of U.S. imports, it’s important that Mexican food facilities are aware of new regulations set by FSMA. For one, food facilities registered with FDA are now required to renew their registrations each even-numbered year between October 1st and December 31st. FSMA also ordered FDA to double the number of facility inspections every year through 2016. Registrar Corp, an FDA compliance consulting firm, can help companies properly renew their registration for 2014 and help companies prepare for FDA inspections. We can also provide assistance with prior notice of foreign shipments for U.S. import, which is now required under FSMA.
Having offices in both the United States and Mexico, Registrar Corp looks forward to watching this partnership unfold and will update the industry as new preventative practices are established. For more information on FSMA and FDA food safety regulations, or to learn more about how Registrar Corp can assist your food facility, contact us at 1-757-224-0177 or receive online Live Help from our regulatory specialists: https://www.registrarcorp.com/livehelp.