Day: July 1, 2015

US: Survey of food safety practices – Small farms and farmers markets

Journal of Food Protection: This study evaluated current food safety practices used by farmers on small to medium-sized farms and managers of farmers markets in Georgia, Virginia, and South Carolina based on responses to surveys. Data were collected from 226 farmers and 45 market managers. Responses from farmers indicated that more than 56% of them use manures. Of those who use manures, 34% use raw or mixtures of raw and composted manure, and over 26% wait fewer than 90 days between application of raw manure and harvest. Over 27% use water sources that have not been tested for safety for irrigation, and 16% use such water sources for washing produce. Over 43% do not sanitize surfaces that touch produce at the farm. Only 33% of farmers always clean transport containers between uses.

Read Article →

Day: July 1, 2015

US: PMA Comments on FSMA Implementation Work Plans

Jim Gorny, PMA: In written comments submitted May 26 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) implementation work plans (Focus on Implementation Strategy for Prevention-Oriented Food Safety Standards), Produce Marketing Association (PMA) again supported the need for increased funding for FDA’s food safety budget, including the appropriation of an additional $109.5 million in new budget authority. However, PMA clearly outlined its opposition to funding FSMA implementation through the imposition of user fees, inspection fees or registration fees by Federal or State governments.

The comments highlighted three areas of most concern to members…

Read Article →

Day: July 1, 2015

US: Ice cream as a catalyst for change in the produce industry? By Dr Bob Whitaker

Dr Bob Whitaker, PMA: You are probably thinking that is an odd title unless you have been monitoring the Blue Bell ice cream recall in recent weeks. Blue Bell hit the news back in mid-March when they recalled ice cream products from one of their production lines owing to contamination with Listeria monocytogenes (Lm). Flashing forward to the end of April, Blue Bell has recalled all of its products currently in the market made at all of its facilities due to potential contamination with Lm. It turns out that arriving at where this case is today has been the result of a long and complex, multi-state outbreak investigation that may reach back as far as 2010. There are currently 10 people sickened by this incident across four states (Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas) with three deaths (all in Kansas). All of the victims were elderly and had other underlying health issues and were hospitalized before developing listeriosis.

While this is a tragedy that we can all relate to, you may still be asking, what does this have to do with produce?

Read Article →

Day: July 1, 2015

US: PMA members respond to draft FSMA implementation strategy

Dr Jim Gorny, PMA: With the first five final rules for the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act regulations anticipated this August and October, and with the recent call for comments on FDA’s proposed FSMA implementation work plans, we’re shifting focus toward implementation of the final rules that are set to transform food safety for our industry.

Read Article →