July 31, 2009
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today published a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register, seeking comment on its draft guidances to improve the safety of tomatoes, leafy greens, and melons. These commodity-specific guidances (CSGs) are intended for growers, packers, processors, transporters, retailers and others throughout the supply chain.
The CSGs provide a framework for identifying and implementing appropriate measures to minimize the risk of microbial contamination of tomatoes, leafy greens, and melons. The guidances are designed to complement FDA's Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (Good Agricultural Practices Guide). Because the CSGs cover the entire supply chain, the guidances also complement FDA's Current Good Manufacturing Practices Regulations and Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Fresh-cut Fruits and Vegetables. Implementation of the guidances should help minimize and/or prevent microbial contamination of these commodities and foodborne illness associated with their consumption.
In developing the CSGs, FDA relied heavily on existing industry commodity-specific guidances, lessons learned from outbreak and investigations, and other public and private programs. Publication of these guidances is consistent with the principles embraced by the White House Food Safety Working Group, announced recently by Vice President Joe Biden.
Comments on guidance may be submitted at any time. However, to ensure that comments are received in time for FDA's consideration in drafting final guidance, written or electronic comments should be submitted within 90 days of publication in the Federal Register. Submit written comments to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD. 20852. Submit electronic comments to http://www.regulations.gov. All comments should be identified with the docket number listed in the notice of availability, as published in the Federal Register.
For questions regarding this draft document, contact the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) at 301-436-1700.