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Food Safety, Traceability and Origin Labeling
Mango Food Safety Conference
The NMB hosted a Mango Food Safety Conference on March 6, 2013, at the McAllen Convention Center in McAllen, TX. This conference focused on providing attendees with information about food safety guidelines and standards, areas of opportunity for the mango industry, a broader view of the field, and how food safety issues affect the food supply chain.
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More About Food Safety
The landscape is changing for producers and suppliers of fruits and vegetables. Food safety has become a major issue and many different commodities have been impacted by food safety crises. When products are recalled, and especially when consumers get sick from eating fresh produce, the entire industry feels the pain.
It’s not yet known exactly how the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will be implemented and how it will impact growers and suppliers who provide mangos to U.S. consumers. However, the U.S. Department of Food and Drugs (FDA) have made key information concerning the FSMA available in several languages for easy access by manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and regulators in the international community. The documents located on their website are available in English, Spanish Portuguese, French and several other foreign languages. FDA offers these translations as a service to a broad international audience. The NMB hopes you find these translations useful.
The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has also pulled together a solid set of resources regarding FSMA. PMA also held two free webinars with Dr. Bob Whitaker, Chief Science & Technology Officer of PMA, to help you understand the provisions of FDA's recently released proposed produce safety and preventive controls rules. If you missed it or you participated in the sessions and want a copy of Dr. Whitaker's presentation, it is available on their website. PMA hosted two additional free webinars with FDA about FSMA and Preventive Controls. PMA has also published summaries of each of these proposals, available in their FSMA resource center. Please click here for more information.
United Fresh is another great resource to get informed about FSMA as they provided details during two webinars. The first webinar featured speakers, Dr. James Gorny, Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, FDA CFSAN and David Durkin, Legal Counsel, OFW Law. The second webinar featured speakers Dr. Samir Assar, Director, Produce Safety Staff, FDA CFSAN, Dr. James Gorny, Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, FDA CFSAN and Dr. David Gombas, Senior Vice President, Food Safety and Technology, United Fresh. Join expert presenters to learn more on the content of the proposed rule, what implications may exist, and how this proposed rule impacts you and your company. Please click here for more information.
Meanwhile, the USDA’s final rule for mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) went into effect in March 2009. This rule requires retailers to notify their customers of the country of origin of covered commodities (including fresh produce), meaning retailers will require their suppliers to support this communication effort through accurate labeling.
In the face of this uncertain landscape, the National Mango Board has collected a wealth of links to online resources related to food safety, traceability and country of origin labeling. These links can lead you down the path to compliance with the rules and laws of the land. Also available is a previously recorded webinar hosted by the NMB with keynote speaker Dr. Whitaker. In this webinar, Dr. Whitaker discusses food safety and FDA procedures and regulations during produce inspections.
Issues and Crisis Response Guide
Additionally, the National Mango Board has created a comprehensive Issues and Crisis Response Guide that outlines the process we will follow in response to a developing crisis or issue. The plan is intended to help the mango industry respond to a crisis in the most efficient and effective manner in order to protect consumer health. The plan includes industry resources as well as credible third-party information to aid the mango industry in its response. You can download a copy of the 2013 Issues and Crisis Response Guide. This guide can also be a great foundation for creating your own issues and crisis response guide for your company. Please be patient as the document is large and may take several minutes to open, depending on your connection speed.
The NMB also put together a list of resources for the mango industry to utilize in case of a recall. This list provides information on what to expect from health agencies and what resources are available to assist your company if you execute a recall. Click here to download the National Mango Board Recall Resource.