A sound food safety plan

Hundreds of pages of federal food safety regulations eventually have to be understood and followed "down on the farm."

First educating and then enforcing the produce safety rule is a big challenge for the Food and Drug Administration. Fortunately, they will have help.

FDA is working with state departments of agriculture to bring the goal to life. The Packer's coverage this weeks looks at the effort by FDA to recruit state help in the mission.

By late this year and into next year, the FDA will work with states to design and pilot an initial model for inspections on farms.

Many states are preparing to play a role in education and outreach about the produce safety rule, and also are designing and implementing a produce safety rule compliance program.

Eventually, FDA will lean on state inspectors to do produce safety inspections on farms.

The Food Safety Modernization Act directed the FDA to build partnerships to get the job done, including relationships with regulatory and public health agencies both at the federal, state and local levels and the private sector.

This important work has only started, and the industry should be pleased there is a reasonable plan in place.

To deliver consistent and fair inspections to fruit and vegetable growers in 50 states, however, the FDA and the states will need to show an unprecedented commitment to work together to complete the sprawling ambition of federal food safety rules for the farm.

Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.