MEXICO – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its regulatory counterparts in Mexico have reported progress in food safety during the second annual Food Safety Partnership (FSP) Meeting.
Mexico is a primary supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables to the U.S. FDA data shows that about one-third of all agency-regulated human food imported into the U.S. is from Mexico, including 60% of fresh produce imports.
This year, the FDA, the Federal Commission for the Protection from Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) and the National Service of Agro-Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) convened in Mexico City to complete several tasks.
Among the tasks to be accomplished were visiting a farm to implement food safety practices, including traceability, and to observe unique growing and harvesting practices; meeting with industry to learn more about their food safety efforts and to discuss collaborations, and lastly; holding the Annual FSP Meeting.
Frank Yiannas, the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response noted that they are building on the longstanding partnership for the U.S. and Mexico to work together, to contain outbreaks of foodborne illness and lessen consumer exposure to foodborne hazards.
“As we approach the 200th anniversary of U.S.-Mexico relations, keeping this partnership strong is more important than ever.
“Our food supply is global, and no single country can achieve its food safety goals alone. Our shared goal is to proactively use modern technologies, tools and approaches to help protect the global food supply,” he said.
During this year’s meeting, the agencies reported tangible progress in each workgroup and discussed plans for the coming year to further food safety in both countries.
They also reviewed Produce Safety Rule (PSR) trainings they had facilitated, including those with cilantro growers in Puebla, avocado growers in Jalisco and bulb onion growers in Chihuahua.
The agencies further worked with EMEX, a mango association, to conduct three PSR trainings for mango producers in Sinaloa, Nayarit and Jalisco.
The FDA also provided outreach to SENASICA and COFEPRIS personnel about the FDA’s proposed Agricultural Water rule: Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption Relating to Agricultural Water.
“We know the importance of what is at stake, and we are convinced that the success stories we have had with producers and marketers of different types will generalize to other environments,” said Francisco Javier Trujillo Arriaga, Director in Chief of Senasica.
COFEPRIS is the department within the Ministry of Health that deals with the importation of medical devices and issues advertising permits for these products.
On the other hand, SENASICA is responsible for executing national policies on health and animal and plant quality and food safety of its competition, as well as verifying compliance with current regulations in the field.