December 6, 2017
When the Produce Safety Rule became final in November 2015, the FDA began building the Produce Safety Network (PSN) to support the efforts of farmers, state regulators, and other key stakeholders to implement the rule, which is aimed at preventing foodborne illnesses associated with produce.
The challenges of successful implementation include regional differences in growing conditions and practices across the country, and that the produce industry has never before had this kind of FDA oversight.
The PSN does two things:
- It establishes regionally based policy and regulatory experts throughout the country, making them uniquely suited to address the issues specific to the states they’re supporting.
- It also places these experts, from two very different FDA offices, within one team. The network combines the regulatory expertise from the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) with the policy and science expertise from the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN).
In an interview, Stephen Hughes, the PSN’s Team Lead from CFSAN and Brittany Laymon, one of two Branch Chiefs leading the investigators from ORA, discuss the PSN’s goals, the work their teams are doing, and how this team allows for better coordination within FDA as its experts work with farmers, state partners and other key stakeholders to support implementation of the Produce Safety Rule.