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  1. CFSAN Constituent Updates

FDA Announces New Protocol for the Development and Registration of Treatments for Preharvest Agricultural Water

Constituent Update

July 30, 2020

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new protocol for the development and registration of antimicrobial treatments for preharvest agricultural water, which was developed through a collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The announcement was made during a webinar on the FDA’s 2020 Leafy Green STEC Action Plan.

Agricultural water can be a major conduit of pathogens that can contaminate produce. FDA recognizes that effective treatments could be a valuable tool in helping to prevent foodborne illness associated with the consumption of produce. However, there are currently no registered antimicrobial treatment products that are authorized to control microorganisms of public health significance for use on agricultural fields, or for treatment of irrigation water systems or ponds.

A testing protocol, which is intended to help companies develop data on the effectiveness of their products in inactivating pathogens, such as E. coli or Salmonella, in preharvest agricultural water, was developed through a collaboration between scientists in FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and subject matter experts at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA’s approval of this protocol means that companies may use the data developed using the protocol to support registration of new treatment products, or amendments to current products’ labels, for use against foodborne pathogens in preharvest agricultural water.

This action is consistent with the FDA’s commitment to a New Era of Smarter Food Safety, and fulfills one of the action items in the 2020 Leafy Green STEC Action Plan.

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