U.S., Mexico Intend to Form Partnership to Strengthen Produce Safety
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Mexico’s National Service for Agro-Alimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) and Federal Commission for the Protection from Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) have signed a statement of intent to form a partnership to promote the safety of fresh and minimally processed agricultural products. According to an FDA statement, this partnership will include collaboration with the private sector and will focus on preventive practices and verification measures for the production of safe produce, including:
– exchanging information to better understand each other’s produce safety systems;
– developing effective cultural-specific education and outreach materials that support industry compliance with produce safety standards;
– identifying common approaches for training auditors who will verify compliance with such standards; and
– enhancing collaboration on laboratory activities as well as outbreak response and traceback activities.
The FDA notes that Mexico is the leading exporter of FDA-regulated human foods into the U.S. and that leading categories include fresh vegetables ($4.6 billion); fresh fruit, excluding bananas ($3.1 billion); wine and beer ($1.9 billion); and snack foods, including chocolate ($1.5 billion).