U.S – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published an overview of its current initiatives to improve the safety of imported food in a paper titled “Activities to Enhance the Safety of Imported Produce”.
The document comes after the FDA’s 2019 document, “Strategy for the Safety of Imported Food (Import Strategy),” which outlines the organization’s strategy to improve the safety of food imported into the United States.
The most recent document provides specifics on how the 2019 strategy relates to imported vegetables.
Since fresh fruits and vegetables make up a sizable portion of imported food, the FDA claims that the effectiveness of its efforts to ensure the safety of imported food is largely dependent on the safety of produce.
Currently, the United States imports about 32% of its fresh vegetables and 55% of its fresh fruit.
Activities to Improve the Safety of Imported Produce describes how FDA is pursuing the four goals outlined in the 2019 Import Strategy to improve the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including:
The four goals include: Food Offered for Import Meets U.S. Food Safety Requirements, FDA Border Surveillance Prevents Entry of Unsafe Foods, Rapid and Effective Responses to Unsafe Imported Food, and Effective and Efficient Food Import Program.
Goal 1 of the FDA includes compliance verification activities, such as inspections and testing, information sharing with foreign regulatory partners, and education and outreach efforts to increase public awareness and comprehension of food safety requirements, to make sure that the industry complies with the relevant U.S. food safety requirements.
When conducting border surveillance activities at U.S. ports of entry, FDA uses information, such as an importer’s compliance history and risks associated with a commodity, to inform the agency’s actions, including import entry screening, examination, sampling, and testing.
FDA’s process for responding to outbreaks and other food safety incidents includes efforts to remove unsafe produce from the marketplace if it has entered the country, which is supplemented by further steps the agency takes to mitigate the risk of future outbreak events.
In line with the New Era of Smarter Food Safety, FDA is implementing an adaptive, risk-informed, and cost-effective management system and infrastructure to support organizational excellence, performance, and accountability.
In order to expand on the preventive standards set by the Food Safety Modernization Act, the new document explains how the FDA’s efforts to help ensure the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables are a crucial part of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety.
The review aims to provide stakeholders with a better understanding of the several measures the agency uses to ensure equal oversight of product cultivated domestically and abroad and to ensure that only safe produce enters the American market.