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Oregon focuses on Food Safety Modernization Act

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An important deadline approaches for two proposed food safety rules that impact growers and processors throughout the country, Oregon included:

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The Food Safety Modernization Act– or FSMA for short– ambitiously proposes a comprehensive system for preventing food borne illnesses as well as reacting to them:

PAGE:  “FSMA is going to have major effects on basically every aspect of food production from the farm all the way to when it leaves the processing plant.”  :11

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Stephanie Page of the Oregon Department of Agriculture is one of many ODA staff members working to provide and coordinate comments on the first two FSMA proposed rules. Those rules deal with produce safety and preventive controls for human food:

PAGE:  “With Oregon’s produce industry, our valuable fruit, vegetable, and nut crops, and other crops, it’s really going to affect our producers significantly. So we’ve been very engaged both at the national level and as a state department in putting together comments.”  :17

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ODA has been able to capture much of what is being heard from Oregon’s agriculture community. Concerns include rules on irrigation water, manure application on produce fields, and wildlife intrusion onto farms. While ODA supports the goals of FSMA, it wants to make sure the rules are workable for farmers and processors. The November 15 deadline is coming up quickly, but it’s not too late for affected parties to get involved and submit comments. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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PAGE says there has been a lot of talk in the ag community already about key issues associated with FSMA:

“Regarding irrigation water and application of manure on produce, and wildlife intrusion onto produce farmers, and some of those issues– those are some of the main issues that we’ve really heard folks express concern about.”  :15

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PAGE says FSMA is an important step in ensuring food safety, but it needs to make sure impacts on agriculture are reasonable and doable:

“The intent is really to proactively prevent outbreaks in addition to responding to outbreaks. We are certainly supportive of that. At the same time, we want to make sure the rules are really right, that FDA gets them right the first time around and doesn’t adopt something that’s going to be unworkable for farmers and processors.”  :18

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