FDA In Brief: FDA continues to facilitate training options for industry to help ensure the safety of produce
June 3, 2019
“Fresh fruits and vegetables are a cornerstone of a nutritious diet and we recognize how important it is that farmers have the tools they need to keep produce consumed by Americans among the safest in the world,” said Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for Food Policy and Response. “Education and training are key to the prevention of foodborne illness, and we know that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to the diverse produce industry. That’s why today we’re announcing the availability of an important food safety training draft guidance that provides additional, flexible recommendations to consider as industry and the FDA continue working to advance food safety.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced the availability of a new draft guidance that, when finalized, aims to help improve the availability of training that can meet the needs of diverse farming operations supplying our nation’s fruits and vegetables.
The draft guidance, “Evaluating Alternate Curricula for the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption: Guidance for Industry,” is intended to help farmers and educators utilize alternate curricula to meet certain training requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. This rule established science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of produce grown for human consumption.
The Produce Safety Rule requires that at least one supervisor or responsible party successfully complete food safety training that is at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by FDA. The draft guidance, when finalized, will recognize as adequate version 1.1 of the standardized curriculum developed by the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA). The standardized curriculum covers fundamental food safety topics related to produce and the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule. This includes an introduction to produce safety, worker health and hygiene, training, wildlife and domesticated animals, land use, produce handling, and sanitation. FDA recognizes that traditional training activities may not work for all groups, and there are certain instances in which alternate curricula and training delivery may be appropriate. The draft guidance issued today is designed to help farmers and educators understand FDA’s current thinking on factors that should be considered when either selecting or developing an alternate training curriculum that is not the standardized curriculum developed by the PSA.
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.