North Carolina's Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler is encouraging everyone that has an interest in food safety, especially as it pertains to fruits and vegetables and to make plans to attend a listening session on February 20th at the Kerr Scott building on the NC State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Commissioner Troxler says that North Carolina is one of five states offering a listening session with key FDA officials on the new Food Safety Modernization Act draft that was released last month. This listening session will give stakeholders an opportunity to hear from FDA and pose questions to key people within FDA as it may concern their operation.
The session will be from 1pm until 5pm and while the event is free to all that attend, they'd like to be able to plan, so registering at www.ncagr.gov/FDAlisten is encouraged. For more information contact Christina Waggett at 919-707-3008.
“The agency will be collecting comments about this rule before its finalized. I would say please take the time to read these proposed rules and take advantage of the comment period that lasts until May 16. We want to make sure that we have enough comments going in that we get these rules right to begin with. It will be much easier if they are right than if we have to go back to make something work.
On the 20th of Feb, we will have a listening session with FDA about the proposed rule. For farmers and packers especially, they really need to be at this session to try to understand what the rules mean and what the implication is for them. It will take place from 1-5 in the Scott Building at the Fair Grounds.
This is a complicated situation that will have major ramifications in the fresh fruit and vegetable industry.
We want to hear from everyone so we can craft our response to these rules. In addition, we want to be very proactive in helping our farmers and packers understand the rules and begin to get in compliance with these rules. The one thing I don’t want to happen is for our farmers and packers to have a false sense of security. If you read the rules, there are compliance dates, and sometimes they may be down the road, but the reality is that the FDA will be in NC this year doing regulatory work. We want to get people into compliance before the FDA has a recall or there are financial damage done. This is the beginning of the process to educate.
To attend the session go to www.ncagr.gov/FDAlisten We want to have an estimate of the number of people attending but it is open to anyone.
Its very important to come to this listening session. There will be plenty of time for questions and answers with FDA. You will never get another opportunity to go all the way to the top with FDA and make comments and ask questions. We are only one of five states to get this listening session.”