Issue Brief

Produce Safety Project: Stakeholders' Discussion Series Meetings

PRoject Summary

View Docket Submission (PDF)

The Food and Drug Administration announced in December 2009, that it was going to establish a nationwide produce safety standard for the growing, harvesting and packing of fresh fruits and vegetables and opened an official docket for comments in February 2010.

The Produce Safety Project sponsored six stakeholder discussions with the goal of providing a platform for stakeholders, with particular emphasis on growers, to discuss their expertise in promoting produce safety through their current practices and to offer input for consideration by FDA as it prepares to propose a produce safety rule.

The six locations for the Stakeholders' Discussion Series were:

Rochester, NY, February 15, 2010 | Agenda | Transcripts & Video 

Columbus, OH, March 11, 2010 | Agenda | Transcripts & Audio 

Tifton, GA, March 25, 2010 | Agenda | Transcripts & Audio 

College Park, MD, April 7, 2010| Agenda | Transcripts & Audio 

Monterey, CA April 26, 2010 | Transcripts & Audio 

Salinas, CA - Spanish-language session, April 27, 2010

Each of the Stakeholders' Discussion Series sessions has a summary, capturing overviews of the presentations, the main points emerging from the breakout sessions, and some of the observations, questions, and issues highlighted towards the end of the sessions. The Stakeholders' Discussion Series promoted maximum dialogue and encouraged stakeholders to comment on these issues.  The comments are sometimes in conflict or present a challenge in terms of balancing different interests. These conflicts were sometimes explored during the sessions, but there was not time or intent to fully reconcile these challenges.

The meeting series provided an opportunity for fruit and vegetable growers and other interested stakeholders (extension educators, food retailers, consultants, produce trade association personnel and others) to hear presentations on and discuss the practical application of the science associated with four areas identified as important to produce safety: 1) Irrigation and Foliar Contact Water Quality, 2) Wildlife and Environmental Concerns; 3) Composting Issues; and 4) Worker Health and Hygiene.
These four areas are noted as potential vectors for pathogens and causing food-borne illness outbreaks.  Four papers were commissioned by PSP to present current information on these issues.  These papers, and ideas contained in them, were briefly reviewed and presented during each of the sessions, and served as jumping off points for more detailed discussions organized in smaller group breakout sessions.

Author: Dr. Michael P. Doyle, University of Georgia
Topic: Compost  Summary (PDF) Issue Brief (PDF)

Authors: Dr. Karen Lowell &  Dr. Jeffrey Langholz, Authors, Safe and Sustainable: Co-Managing for Food Safety and Ecological Health in California's Central Coast Region
Topic: Wildlife/Environmental Concerns Summary (PDF) Issue Brief (PDF)

Author:  Dr. Trevor Suslow, University of California, Davis
Topic: Water Quality Summary (PDF)  Issue Brief (PDF)

Author: Dr. Robert L. Gravani, Cornell University
Topic: Worker Health & Hygiene Summary (PDF) Issue Brief (PDF)

Meetings were Co-sponsored by the National GAPs Program at Cornell University in Rochester, NY, the Food Animal Health Research Program at the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, the Center for Food Safety and Security Systems (CFS3) at the University of Maryland, and the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.