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FDA to discuss proposed produce food safety regulations with communities this August

PULLMAN, Wash.- Food growers, packers, and processors are invited to discuss food safety policy and recently proposed regulations with the FDA in Washington and Oregon this August. Registration is required at http://bit.ly/18PPj6M, but the event is free and open to the public.

Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the proposed standards for the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of produce for human consumption (proposed produce rule) of the Food Safety Modernization Act.  A two hour session will take place on Aug. 12 from 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. at Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario, Ore. A full day session takes place on Aug. 14, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Howard Johnson in Yakima, Wash.

Michael Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, along with produce safety experts will discuss agricultural water use and focus on specific aspects of the proposed regulations. Information regarding alternatives and variances to certain provisions of the proposed rule will be emphasized and discussed in more detail than in previous sessions.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) passed in January 2011 represents the most comprehensive reform of food regulation in more than 70 years. A key component of the FSMA is a mandate to shift food safety efforts from reaction to prevention.

The event is organized by a multi-state team involving Washington State University-University of Idaho School of Food Science and Oregon State University, state regulatory agencies, including Washington State Department of Agriculture, Oregon Department of Agriculture and Idaho State Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the FDA.

“Increasing dialogue between stakeholders and the FDA will assist in understanding challenges with the proposed rule. It is crucial that food industry representatives submit constructive comments to FDA to provide potential options for consideration,” stated Karen Killinger, Associate Professor in Extension for the Washington State University/ University of Idaho School of Food Science, who is helping coordinate the event and will contribute to the discussion.

Claudia Coles, Administrator of the Office of Compliance and Outreach within the Food Safety and Consumer Services Division of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, stated  “We have strong partnerships among state agencies,  universities and stakeholder groups for food safety education efforts. This is an excellent opportunity to engage with the FDA regarding the proposed rules.” The university employees and state regulatory agencies will be active partners in implementing programs to help growers, packers and processors comply with the new rules.

The FDA encourages public comments through November 16, 2013. To submit comments search the Docket ID at http://www.regulations.gov/#!home.

Media Contacts

Angela Lenssen, School of Food Science Communications Consultant, 509-335-4289
Cathy Blood, School of Food Science event coordinator, 509-335-2845