Fresh Produce Safety Legislative Coming..

Bills have been introduced to both the House and Senate this past year.

The NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force, Working Group #3 ( made up primarily of growers and respective supporting agriculture and marketing industries) is currently working on getting the word out and getting feedback from representative groups.    This group is co-chaired by Debbie Hamrick, NC Farm Bureau, and Ben Chapman, NCSU.  A special thank you to Debbie Hamrick and Jake Parker of the NC Farm Bureau for providing some of the amendment documentation below.

In order to better understand the bill introduced, I have posted the website below with instruction on how to access the respective bills.
The website to use is: http://thomas.loc.gov/.

Search under the “Bill Number” in the middle column.  Use the search names of S 510 and H 2749.

Once that page comes up, click on the “Text of Legislation”.  You will want the text from the “Reported” file or the “Engrossed As Agreed”.

House Bill 2749 – Food Safety enhancement Act of 2009.  This bill passed in the House in July 2009.    Please look through bill but big headers to look for include:  USDA Exemptions, Annual Registration of Food Facilities, Facility registration fee, Hazard analysis, risk-based preventive controls, food safety plan, finished product test results, traceability of food, importers of food.
Senate Bill 510 – FDA Food Safety Modernization Act .  This bill is in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee were amendments to the bill are being considered.    Several of the amendments include food tracing systems, nutrition claims made on baby formula, and food labeling.  Others might include the Harkin substitute amendment and 3 others, two of which are offered by Senator Burr.  The Senate version of the bill is less invasive but will still be a regulation.  Please again look at the bill in entirety but specifically in the same headers as mentioned above in the House bill.

2010 S510 Amendfoodsafety10a 0212

Growing Safe Food Act _StabenowAmend- FINAL

Senator Tester’s Support Letter Amend-S510-May-25

Of course, more information on Fresh Produce Safety can be found on www.ncmarketready.org, click on “Fresh Produce Safety” on l-hand column.

Economic Costs of GAPs and Insurance Options for Fresh Produce Growers

Of course, this  is the big question.    One of our specialists, Rod Rejesus attacked this venue with two publications.

This publication weighs the economic costs against the benefits of adopting GAPs certification. GAPs Certification: Is it worth it?

As foodborne illness outbreaks are on the rise, growers are faced with increasing risk of economic loss. This paper investigates the insurance options against economic loss that could help growers to safeguard their business operations. Insurance Coverage Options for Fresh Produce Growers

Microbial Testing Labs

Part of creating a food safety program is developing the supporting documentation.  An essential tool to incorporate into your program is the use of microbial testing.  Microbial testing can measure the effectiveness of your proactive food safety program.  It is not meant to be used as a standalone tool, retrospectively incorporated.

Here are some articles on the use of microbial testing

Post-Harvest Food Safety Risk Reduction – H. Russell Cross

Guidance for Industry: Sampling and Microbial Testing of Spent Irrigation Water During Sprout Production

Microbial Testing of Spent Irrigation Water in Sprouts

I will be adding to this list as time goes on.

Growers will already be asking for help in finding labs that can support their programs of testing.  To this end, I have included a list of labs known currently to offer these services.

Food Testing Labs

NC Agents Trained Across the State

Three regional train-the-trainer workshops were held in fall 2008 and spring 2009.  From these trainings, agents across the state were trained on the new NC MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field To Family Curriculum.  By November, each county was mailed a 3-ring notebook with the corresponding jumpdrive of the curriculum, a marketing toolkit, and 3 representative videos.    As trained agents start offering classes, it might be helpful to see the other agents trained in your respective districts.

NorthCentralDistrict

NortheastDistrict

SouthCentralDistrict

SoutheastDistrict

WestCentralDistrict

WestDistrict