North Carolina Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler hosted the 9th Annual Food Safety Forum yesterday at the NC State Fairgrounds for over 400 people who were there to learn more about the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act:
“The folks from the FDA are here to talk about the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Jackson Farming Company has a representative here to talk about going thru an FDA inspection. We at the department have been very proactive with pre-assessments in the cantaloupe industry. But we need to help people understand what these rules mean and how to get in compliance and stay there.
We have farmers from as far away as Alaska for this seminar and to interact with the FDA.”
Matt Solana, VP of Operations and Supply Chain for Jackson Farming Company in Sampson County, North Carolina spoke about the voluntary inspection of their cantaloupe packing house, and what an eye opener the process was, even though none of their products has ever been recalled in over 30 years of fruit and vegetable production:
“We are committed to food safety. I have listened today and its still very confusing to implement all of this. We need clear direction as to what needs to be done.”
And while the new regulations are certainly daunting for ongoing concerns, for those thinking about getting into a food related business, they can be a deterrent. Dean of the College of Ag and Life Sciences Dean Linton:
“We have spent a lot of time at NC State with an entrepreneur initiative that helps the salsa manufacturers, the jam and jelly manufacturers, those that produce pumpkin pie and everything in between. We are working with them to develop a food safety and quality program along with marketing and making sure they are understanding all of the requirements.”