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Oregon takes a closer look at Food Safety Modernization Act

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Oregon’s farmers and food processors are being asked to comment on sweeping changes by the Food and Drug Administration to the nation’s food safety laws:

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The Food Safety Modernization Act is the first significant upgrade in 75 years and generally emphasizes prevention of foodborne illness instead of just reacting to an outbreak. Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba is wanting to make sure everyone is aware of the two proposed rules drafted so far by FDA:

COBA:  “We’re really at the stage where the rules are being drafted and we are looking at comments from those affected on the rules. Now is the time that it is finally hitting producers in particular, maybe more so than processors, wow– we had no idea this was as big as it is.”  :18

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One rule reaches the farm level, proposing enforceable safety standards for growing and harvesting fruits and vegetables. Oregon agriculture is not unique in the sense that these rules are proposed for the entire US. But it does grow a lot of produce:

COBA:  “Oregon doesn’t grow cantaloupe, other states do. We don’t have citrus, other states do. But we have a number of products– berries and cherries and nuts– that all fall under the produce safety rules.”  :13

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ODA continues to provide outreach and education for Oregon’s farmers and food processors regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act, hoping that those with concerns will provide comment back to FDA. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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COBA says Oregon ag organizations should be very aware of the Food Safety Modernization Act and the two rules proposed so far, especially the one that impacts growers:

“It’s really important for commodity groups right now to be paying close attention to the rule, thinking about how it would impact them, and providing comments to either clarify or improve the rule.”  :12

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COBA says it’s important to upgrade the nation’s food safety laws in a way that makes sense and is doable:

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that the United States has one of the safest food supplies in the world. But that being said, given some of these terrible outbreaks, there is room for improvement.”  :12

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