Posts from the "Latest News" category

Foreign Supplier Verification Programs summary released, new FSMA webinars announced

Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is releasing new resources to help the global fresh produce industry understand the U.S. government’s latest proposed rules to implement the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The association announces plans for bilingual produce-specific webinars explaining the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposals for Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) and Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors, released by the agency on July 26. PMA also announces release of English and Spanish summaries of the FSVP proposed rule.
The FSVP proposed rule summaries are tailored for the global fresh produce industry, as the proposed rule would extend U.S. food safety standards to imported foods. English and Spanish summaries of the Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors proposed rule will follow soon.
PMA will partner with Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Fresh Produce Association of the Americas and Western Growers to host an English-language webinar covering the two newly proposed rules on Thursday, Aug. 29, from 3-4:30 p.m. EST.
That webinar will feature FDA experts Brian Pendleton, J.D., and Charlotte Christin, J.D., both FDA senior policy advisors who will explain the proposed rules and then answer participants’ questions. PMA will also host a Spanish-language webinar covering the proposed rules on Tuesday, Sept. 10, from 3-4 p.m. EST. Both webinars are free; registration is now open for the English webinar, and will open soon for the Spanish webinar.
“The global reality of today’s fresh produce supply chain is reflected in these latest proposed rules,” said PMA Chief Science & Technology Officer Bob Whitaker. “PMA is here to help all of our members, inside and outside the U.S., understand FSMA’s implications on our global industry.”
PMA’s latest summaries and webinars are designed for:

U.S.-based fresh produce importers, who would be responsible for implementing the FSVP rule;
non-U.S. fresh produce suppliers to U.S. importers, who would be responsible for working with importers to meet FSVP requirements;
fresh produce buyers and sellers who utilize or participate in third-party audits; and
auditors or certifiers, who would be subject to the third-party audit rule

Access FSVP proposed rule summaries and additional PMA resources, by visiting the “What’s New” section of PMA’s online FSMA Resource Center.

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Food Safety Guidance Documents now available online at

The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) now offers a new resource for food safety guidance documents to help producers and buyers develop food safety programs for their specific operations. Both country and commodity-specific resources are available.  If you or your organisation is aware of applicable produce safety best practices/guidance documents that are not listed and would like to have them included, please contact Cynthia Neal at
Access the full list of resources, here.
Check out PMA’s full range of global food safety resources, here.

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FDA releases second set of proposed rules

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released the second set of proposed Food Safety Modernization Act rules covering foreign supplier verification and third-party auditor accreditation. In a statement to members, PMA President and CEO Bryan Silbermann said food that’s consumed in the U.S., no matter where it’s grown, must meet the same standards. Read the entire statement.

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Fifth FPSANZ monthly newsletter out now!

The fifth edition of the Fresh Produce Safety Australia & New Zealand newsletter has just been released!
In this edition:

Were you spotted at the Food Safety Hub at PMA Fresh Connections, 2013?
“Fresh Produce Safety: A Collaborative Model” Summary by Dr. Robyn McConchie
Fresh Produce Safety Centre – seeking your support.
Message from the CPS Research Symposium: Key messages from the first day, Safe food is a commitment from all businesses.
Get on Track with food safety: Traceability

…and more!
Click here to check out the newsletter.
Stay up to date with what’s happening in the Fresh Produce Safety community by signing up for the monthly newsletter.

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Researchers create rapid E.coli detector

A group of researchers at Canada’s University of Alberta have created a gadget they say can quickly detect the presence of E.coli bacteria in food. The test, which can be used at food-processing facilities, makes millions of copies of the genes in the meat being tested and provides results in under an hour. See the full article at Food Business Review (7/17)

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Dr. Jim Gorny Appointed as Center for Produce Safety (UC Davis) Technical Committee Chair

—Dr. Bob Whitaker to remain on CPS board of directors—
Newark, Del. â€” Dr. Jim Gorny, Produce Marketing Association (PMA) vice president of food safety and technology, has been appointed as chair of the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) Technical Committee by Steve Patricio, chair of the CPS Board of Directors. Gorny will replace Dr. Bob Whitaker, PMA chief science and technology officer, who has chaired the committee since 2008 and will retain his position on CPS’s board.
 The transition allows CPS to continue to benefit from Gorny’s extensive knowledge of food safety, while providing Whitaker the opportunity to dedicate more time identifying and translating existing and emerging science and technology into useable industry solutions for PMA members.
 “Jim has served as a CPS board and Technical Committee member since our founding, providing CPS an opportunity to tap into his extensive knowledge of food safety, industry practices and produce safety public policy,” said Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, CPS executive director. “He’s certainly no stranger to CPS and food safety and his oversight of the Technical Committee leaves the center and the industry in excellent hands.”
 Gorny is an alumnus of the University of California, Davis, and previously served as the executive director of UC Davis’ Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center. Before recently joining PMA, Gorny worked as senior advisor for U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Food Safety where he advised on policies and programs affecting the safety of fresh produce.
 “Jim has built a career around pushing the ball forward on produce safety by strongly advocating for and developing science and risk-based food safety industry programs and public policy, a commitment shared by PMA,” said Whitaker. “His transition to Technical Committee chair furthers this goal while also allowing me to dedicate more time to the tremendous work that still needs to be done for PMA members in the vast area of science and technology, which extends beyond food safety to also include such areas as supply chain efficiencies, seed technology, processing and packing innovations, and data management methodologies.”
Whitaker steps away from his chairmanship well accomplished, having helped CPS establish a framework for annual grant-funded research that has resulted to date in CPS’s awarding more than $10.6 million to fund 70 projects at 26 institutions in 17 U.S. states and three countries. The CPS Produce Research Symposium reports annually on the research funded by the center.
“Bob has done a tremendous job not only in helping to get CPS’s research grant program up and running, but also in helping us concentrate our limited resources on research areas needed most,” said Fernandez-Fenaroli.
As Technical Committee chair, Gorny will work extensively with the CPS executive director and the committee to identify, fund, translate and provide industry with high priority, impactful produce safety research solutions that enhance produce safety for industry and consumers alike. The Technical Committee reports to the CPS chair and the board. Because food safety is top priority for PMA members, to date PMA’s contributions to CPS total more than $3 million, and half of Gorny’s time will be dedicated to CPS as Technical Committee chair.
PMA President and CEO Bryan Silbermann added, “PMA’s members are so well served by the unmatched insight and experience brought to food safety by Drs. Bob Whitaker and Jim Gorny on our staff team. Bob has done wonders in his role of CPS Technology Committee chairman and has laid a strong foundation.  He’ll remain active on the CPS Board and the Technical Committee.  With Jim running the committee, Bob will increase the added value we deliver to our members as translator and educator – a role in which he excels.”
For more information about Center for Produce Safety as well as to access research findings and summaries from the 2013 CPS Produce Research Symposium and past symposiums, visit

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Brief Report: CPS Research Symposium Key Messages, part 1.

Brief Report, CPS Research Symposium 26 and 27th June 2013 ,Wegman’s Conference Centre Rochester, NY State.

The CPS at the University of Davis has been very supportive of the initiatives in Australia to establish an affiliated Fresh Produce Safety Centre. Over the past year they have very generously shared their research outcomes, they have given presentations to our industry, and this year invited Australian researchers to apply for research grants to work collaboratively with US scientists on issues important for the Australian fruit and vegetable industry.

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Increasing the awareness of fresh produce safety is ongoing.

The New South Wales parliamentary Inquiry into the Management of Domestic Wastewater  suggests there had been either a “negligent disregard” for human health or a lack of awareness about the dangers of using raw sewage.
The final report found that untreated effluent is being used on some farms and market gardens as a form of fertiliser and that a small number of farmers deliberately use waste on their crops, additionally it also suggests that many sewage systems on small farms are failing.
Camden MP Chris Patterson, who chaired the inquiry, said most farmers are doing the right thing. “That would be very minimal if that is occurring,” he said.
“It did find out there’s a need for greater education amongst market gardens potentially in non-English backgrounds.”
To increase the awareness of fresh produce safety, FPS A&NZ is looking for support to provide a coordinated approach to research and outreach for industry-identified fresh produce safety issues and challenges in Australia and New Zealand. 
This will be a ‘go-to’ source for all information and news related to food safety and  act as an important interface for information between regulatory bodies and the industry at all parts of the value chain.
The industry has come a long way to bring about greater collaboration on the critical issue of food safety in the fresh produce industry, however work in this area must be ongoing to ensure the health and safety of the consumer and to build on the strengths of the fresh produce industry.
For more information regarding the actions FPS A&NZ is taking to address food safety issues and challenges and how you can be involved contact:

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New Presentation: “Fresh Produce Safety: A Collaborative Model” Summary by Dr. Robyn McConchie

A presentation delivered at PMA Fresh Connections last month by Dr. Robyn McConchie provides a summary of the the outcomes achieved by FPS A&NZ.
Click here to view the presentation.
Over the past year the program has raised awareness of the risks involved in food safety through a number of avenues:

Forum in November last year Bob Whitaker, Bonnie Fernandez- Fenaroli and Lorna Christie
Development of this website with a monthly newsletter
Formed a partnership with the CPS in the US on funding research and also sharing of information so that the wheel wouldn’t be reinvented   – they have very generously shared their research outcomes so as to build on that work rather than start from  scratch.
We have also spoken at the Biennial Freshcare Workshop in April where we also drew on the knowledge and expertise of those involved in  QA to identify the most pressing research needs of the industry
Importantly we have canvassed industry on every occasion to scope out the feasibility of setting up a similar centre that would be independent but affiliated with the CPS in the US. Affiliated in the sense that we share information and outcomes.
Conducted an industry survey through the registered newsletter recipients who represent all stakeholders of the industry – Does Industry need a Fresh Produce Safety Centre?

After this Survey, it was established that the industry did want and need a Fresh Produce Safety Centre. How it will operate, what its roles will be and where to from here can all be seen in the full presentation by Dr. McConchie.

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‘What it takes to instill a food safety culture in your business’ new presentation

Food Safety in our industry is a consumer-right, requiring a collaborative effort from all sectors of the industry. Dr Douglas Powell, Professor of food safety at Kansas State University was at PMA Fresh Connections 2013 Conference last week to challenge businesses not to rely on regulation, but to rely on their staff to deliver safe food.
If you missed Doug’s presentation, it is now available for download below in three abridged segments:

What it takes to instill a food safety culture in your business
The case for instilling a food safety culture in your business
Sprouts – a special problem

Speaking to following his presentation, Doug said:
“Having lived here [Australia] for over two years, I don’t see that public culture of food safety. There were 140 people sick in Canberra, because they were using raw eggs in mayo and yet there was no media coverage about it.”
“The thing I hear most in food safety, whether it’s produce or anything else is – ‘We’ve always done it this way and I’ve never made anyone sick’. What it probably means is that you don’t have the surveillance systems to pick it up.”
“This is a reality – there will be outbreaks, like with rockmelon and peanuts in Australia and you as an industry have a chance to come together and get proactive, or wait until the next outbreak.”
Doug’s blog, ‘Barfblog’ is a handy source of current food safety information. You can check it out at

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