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US partners with Mexico to strengthen produce safety

July 25, 2014
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US partners with Mexico to strengthen produce safetyRepresentatives from FDA and the government of Mexico’s National Service for Agro-Alimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) and Federal Commission for the Protection from Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) have signed a statement of intent to form a partnership promoting the safety of fresh and minimally processed agricultural products.

FDA officials traveled to Mexico this week to meet with their Mexican regulatory counterparts for a series of meetings discussing the future of produce safety.

“To be successful as regulators, the FDA must continue developing new strategies and partnerships that allow us to more comprehensively and collectively respond to the challenges that come with globalization,” said Margaret Hamburg, FDA commissioner. “The FDA is working with our Mexican government counterparts as well as stakeholders from industry, commerce, agriculture, and academia to ensure the safety of products for American and Mexican consumers.”

Mikel Arriola Peñalosa, the federal commissioner of COFEPRIS, called the collaboration a priority for public health and said the partnership will focus on implementing preventative practices and food verification measures for produce safety.

According to FDA, these measures include: exchanging information to better understand each other’s produce safety systems; developing effective culturally-specific education and outreach materials that support industry compliance with produce safety standards; identifying common approaches for training auditors who will verify compliance with such standards; and enhancing collaboration on laboratory activities as well as outbreak response and traceback activities.

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