Central Coast farmers already have food safety procedures in place to protect their produce. Some think that these proposed rules by the FDA might take things too far.
The FDA released its proposed rules to protect consumers from food borne illness last week. The rule that focuses on produce touches close to home for Central Coast farmers who went through the deadly E-coli outbreaks in 2006.
Since the outbreak, California farmers have had measures in place to protect their crops from contamination. The Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement allowed the state to audit farm food safety processes.
With the new proposed rule by the FDA, farms must have written plans in place that identify potential hazards, verify that they are working, and outline how to correct any problems that arise. If the proposal passes, the FDA would evaluate the plans and inspect facilities to make sure the plans are being followed.
A Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau executive, Teri Bontrager, said that in meetings with the FDA, the Farm Bureau expressed the importance of recognizing the practices that California farmers already have in place.
She also said that the "California Farm Bureau's main concern is that the proposed rule could find problems where there are none, whether it's in a paperwork problem or a standard that goes too far."
Those with comments or complaints regarding the new proposed rules must go to the FDA within 120 days. Once that 120-day public comment period is over, the FDA will finalize the new regulations.
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