The United Fresh Produce Association voices its support for two new pilot programs designed to enhance the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ability to trace products responsible for foodborne illness outbreaks. FDA announced yesterday that the pilots, required under the Food Safety Modernization Act, will be carried out by the nonprofit Institute for Food Technologists and will explore and demonstrate methods for rapid and effective tracking and tracing of food, including types of data that are useful for tracing, ways to connect the various points in the supply chain and how quickly data can be made available to FDA. United Fresh Vice President of Supply Chain Management Dan Vaché provides the following statement on the upcoming programs:
“Our industry has been devoted, since the genesis of the Produce Traceability Initiative in 2008, to achieving reliable whole-chain traceability for fresh fruits and vegetables. FDA’s announcement of these pilot programs is an encouraging validation of the hard work we’ve invested to date on this effort, and we enthusiastically support both FDA and IFT in this effort. We have heard repeatedly from leaders at FDA, including Deputy Commissioner for Foods Mike Taylor, that the produce industry knows best how to move the needle on traceability, and we are committed to making that insight available to IFT. We look forward to providing the resources and assistance of the entire industry as the pilots move forward, and given the groundbreaking progress the industry has made thus far through the Produce Traceability Initiative, we hope that we can share what we’ve accomplished and learned, cut down on any potential duplication of efforts, and help the pilots be as successful as possible.”
More information on the pilots can be found at http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FSMA/ucm270851.htm.