Jul 23, 2010
01:53 PMThe Wind Machine
● The Produce Partnership Among Industry and Regulators (PAIR) is an informal group made up of leaders of certain fruit and vegetable trade associations and officials of government, primarily the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It holds regular quarterly conference call meetings to exchange information on food safety issues of current importance. Dr. Dave Gombas of the United Fresh Produce Association in Washington, D.C., takes the lead in organizing this national communications network that includes the Northwest Horticultural Council and USApple. I view PAIR as an important vehicle to assist the Northwest Horticultural Council in keeping abreast of the important happenings in the complicated and fast-changing field of produce food safety. PAIR met this past Wednesday with the participation of staff from the NHC.
● FDA will have over 800 comments to consider when the docket it opened for public comments on Preventive Controls for Fresh Produce closes July 23. On Monday, the Northwest Horticultural Council submitted its own comments to Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0085.
● The U.S. Senate has yet to schedule debate on S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. With the relatively few legislative days left prior to the elections on November 2, other major legislative issues yet to be handled, and with some serious disputes over possible floor amendments to the bill, I now think this food safety measure’s best hope of passage yet this year is during a possible lame-duck session of the 111th Congress.
● The year-long effort to harmonize produce safety schemes and reduce the number of duplicative audits of fruit and vegetable farms and packinghouses is approaching its completion. I have increasing concern that decisions at the technical committee level of this national effort increasingly seem to be driven by the blanket demands of large retailers, as opposed to the dictates of good science and risk assessment. The prevailing food-safety mind set seems to derive from the experiences of the leafy greens, semi-processed industry, rather than those arising from low-risk tree fruits, such as oranges and apples.