FDA Listening Session April 30 on Proposed Produce Safety Rule
WOOSTER, Ohio -- A listening session is scheduled for April 30 to
hear comments and concerns about the U.S Food and Drug Administration’s
(FDA) proposed new food safety rules for fresh produce.
session will be 1 to 4 p.m. in the Shisler Conference Center on the
Wooster campus of Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research and
Development Center (OARDC), 1680 Madison Ave. OARDC is the research arm
of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental
Sciences. The program is being hosted by the Ohio Department of
Agriculture, Ohio State, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio
"The FDA is coming here because they want to hear
from Ohio’s produce growers," said Ashley Kulhanek, agriculture and
natural resource educator for OSU Extension. "They are encouraging
comments. Because it's a proposed rule -- not final yet -- this is the
opportunity to ask questions and make your concerns heard, because once
it's final, it's done."
The event is free, but registration is
requested. The registration form is online at the Ohio Department of
Agriculture's Food Safety Web page at http://bit.ly/FDAmtg
growers have questions about how the proposed rule will affect their
operations, Kulhanek said, or if they can be exempt from the rules.
"This is your chance to get clarification about the rule and how it will
apply to you," she said. "The meeting will include two hours just for
open conversation, questions and answers with the audience."
Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary
medicine, is scheduled to attend the session and will be available for
questions, Kulhanek said.
"Participants will have access to some
top-level FDA administrators," Kulhanek said. "You can get information
right from the source."
Representatives from the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Farm Bureau will also be in attendance.
long-awaited proposed Produce Safety rule was published on Jan. 16. It
is one of the measures the FDA has taken to comply with the 2011 Food
Safety Modernization Act. The proposed rule focuses on standards for
growing, harvesting, packing and holding produce on farms. It is geared
toward produce, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, sprouts
and nuts, that are likely to be eaten fresh. Not included is produce
that is rarely consumed raw, such as potatoes, or is destined for
The rule applies to conventional and organic farms and to greenhouses. Hydroponic produce is also included.
FDA has already held three public two-day meetings (in Washington D.C.,
Oregon and Chicago) that the law required, Kulhanek said. "Now the FDA
is reaching out to more farmers in different regions. FDA has been
hosted in North Carolina and Georgia recently for similar listening
This meeting is more informal,
Kulhanek said. The public can still officially comment on the rule online or in
writing by May 16. To comment, click the link from the Federal Register page, or
go to http://www.regulations.gov
and search for FDA-2011-N-0921. The Federal Register page also includes
information to submit comments in writing.