September 2013 NAPAR Homepage

FSMA FOOD SAFETY PLAN REMINDER

All NAPAR members by now have received a very important FSMA Regulatory Alert from NAPAR President John Motley about complying with the Hazard Analysis and Preventive Controls Rule that the FDA proposed, when it becomes final. NAPAR has contracted with the highly regarded Leavitt Partners Global Food Safety Solutions firm, to create a step-by-step Food Safety Plan Builder and Template that will be available free to all NAPAR members and be discussed at a special meeting on September 18th at noon to 3:30 p.m. over lunch at the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market. If you or one of your employees cannot attend this important meeting, there will be a webinar conducted by Dr. Jennifer McEntire, the lead author of the Food Safety Plan Builder and Template on Wednesday, September 25 at 11 a.m. Both the seminar and the webinar are free! You can spend thousands of dollars to hire a firm to help you comply with the new regulations or you can get the information free from NAPAR. Contact John Motley at (202) 360-4949 now for more information.

FOREIGN SUPPLIER VERIFICATION RULE COULD IMPACT RECEIVERS/WHOLESALERS

Recently the FDA proposed two new rules to implement FSMA. One, the Foreign Supplier Verification rule, could have a significant impact on receivers/wholesalers who import produce from abroad. The purpose of the rule is to insure that foreign food sources observe the same strict food production practices that are followed in the U.S. To accomplish this, the FDA will require that importers of food VERIFY that the producers they purchase from follow approved growing, harvesting and processing procedures. The key here is the FDA's definition of importer. The FDA considers the person or company who caused the food to be brought into the U.S. the importer. That means that even if you use an agent or broker to actually bring the produce into the country for you – the importer of record – you may still be the importer to FDA and responsible for the verification of the safety of the food that enters the country. Many receivers/wholesalers import produce this way and will be subject to a whole new layer of regulation and responsibility.

The first of three public meetings on this new, proposed FDA Foreign Supplier Verification rule is scheduled for September 19th and 20th at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., and will cover the proposed rule on Accreditation of Third Party Certification as well. NAPAR will be present at these meetings to learn more about these rules so we can accurately analyze its impact. Locations and dates of the other two meetings have not been set at this time.

WELCOME BACK

Congress is back in session on September 9th this month and the major items of interest, among many, are continued debate on the farm bill and immigration reform. Both issues are far from being resolved. For example, the major hang-up on the farm bill is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and House Democrats and House Republicans are far apart, with Republicans proposing $40 billion in cuts to SNAP spending, while Democrats are only willing to accept $4 billion. Hopefully, calmer tempers will prevail and they will be able to work out a compromise. If not, prospects of passing a five-year farm bill this year will be dim. The Senate-passed farm bill reduced SNAP by just $4 billion, one-tenth as much as the House GOP is suggesting. A conference committee has its work cut out to resolve this difference.

PRODUCE SAFETY RULE RUNS INTO ENVIROMENTAL HURDLE

In a related matter, just last month the FDA announced that it intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed Produce Safety Rule. The FDA noted that farmers and others in the produce industry had raised concerns that the proposed rule would force changes in the way produce is grown that could negatively impact the environment. Potential switches from surface to ground water for irrigation and from manure to chemical fertilizers are the main concerns. Comments are due to the FDA on the Environmental Impact Statement by November 15, the same day that the comment period ends for the proposed Produce Safety Rule. This could possibly delay the final rule and FDA is under a court order to meet a publication schedule laid down by a Federal judge as a result of a lawsuit by the Center for Food Safety.

QUICK NEWS YOU CAN USE

  • Federal officials are seeking comments on proposals to change onion grade standards that would allow multi-colored onions to be packaged together and assigned a U.S. standard grade. Currently it is allowed to pack and sell various colors of onions in the same pack. However, if a packer-grower chooses to have their mixed color onion packs graded, the packs cannot be certified to a U.S grade, because the standards do not permit comingling colors in the same pack.

  • Local produce farmers in several New England states have mounted a formal campaign to register their opposition to the Produce Safety Rule. The farmers have expressed concerns about the costs of complying with the new rule. They suspect the rules are part of a larger effort by corporate farms to get rid of smaller operations they view as threats. Politicians who side with their farmer constituents say it's more likely someone would be struck by lightning than get sick from locally-grown produce.

  • We congratulate NAPAR member Lisa Strube, the director of finance and administration for wholesaler Strube Celery & Vegetable Co. for receiving the Jan Fleming Produce Legacy Award. Lisa is the very first recipient of the award, which honors Jan Fleming, former president and CEO of Strube Celery & Vegetable Co., who passed away in May.

  • The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to allow the importation of commercial consignments of fresh papayas from Peru into the continental U.S. This action would allow the importation of papayas from Peru while continuing to provide protection against the introduction of quarantine pests into the U.S. Comments are due before October 8 on the proposal.

  • A Produce Traceability Workshop will be held on September 19 in Miami, Florida, with the goal of informing and educating attendees about the upcoming PTI implementation dates and requirements. If you want more information on attending the workshop, call 817-793-3133.

  • The U.S. greenhouse industry has been steadily growing over the past decade driven in part by the need for more intensive production due to limited land, water and labor. This has pushed sales over $3 billion and is estimated to reach over $4 billion by 2020.

 

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For more information about NAPAR, Membership, the Pete Class Memorial Golf Tournament, or this Newsletter contact
John Motley at jmotley@policy-solutions.net

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North American Perishable Agricultural Receivers (NAPAR)
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