FDA launches draft food-safety guidance for US producers

Posted: 23 October 2018 | | No comments yet

One aims to help US farmers, the other should help processors adhere to fresh-cut produce standards.

As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which charged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US with establishing science-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of produce,  two new, draft guidance documents have recently been released for US food producers. One has the aim of helping US farmers better understand the range of steps they can take to comply with the Produce Safety Rule, the other will help processors better understand the relevant provisions of the Preventive Controls Rule for fresh-cut produce that apply to their practices.

The draft guidance for farmers, “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption: Guidance for Industry,” gives examples of possible approaches to comply with the Produce Safety Rule. Says the FDA, “It’s important to recognise that not every scenario is covered in the draft guidance, and farmers can always use an alternate approach as long as it satisfies the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule. But farmers can use the draft guidance as a guide to help evaluate their own on-farm practices.”

The second draft guidance document, “Guide to Minimize Food Safety Hazards of Fresh-cut Produce,” discusses how fresh-cut produce processors may comply with recently modernised requirements for current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) and with new requirements for hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls.

The FDA says that public comments, which it is asking US food producers to make, will help it ensure that the recommendations contained within the two new draft guidance documents are effective and practical: “Although you can comment on the draft guidances at any time, you should submit your comments by April 22, 2019, to ensure that we consider your comments before we begin work on the final versions of the guidances.”