San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 14 June 2018 (IICA) -- The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) trained senior Mexican technical personnel in the safety standards required for fresh produce exported to the United States.
The course, given by the Produce Safety Alliance, will make it possible to replicate surveillance systems among technical field personnel and producers intending to export vegetables and fresh produce to the United States, and meet the requirements of the FDA’s Fresh Produce Safety Standard.
The U.S. project provided the training through the Joint Institute of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) and IICA, the specialized inter-American agency for agriculture. The activity was targeted at 60 technical specialists from the National Health, Safety and Agrifood Quality Service (SENASICA) and the State Agricultural Safety Committee.
The safety standard requires that at least one supervisor or responsible party from a given farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under the standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the FDA.
The course comprised seven modules dealing with subjects such as production water, post-harvest water, worker health, hygiene and training, soil amendments, wildlife, domestic animals and land use, post-harvest handling and sanitation, and farm food safety plans.
The aim of the course is to familiarize experts and farmers with what people in other regions are doing to improve their systems and institute surveillance plans starting at the primary production stage, to ensure that the food reaching consumers’ tables is safe.
Specialists mentioned the need to implement practices and monitor production, packaging, transportation and handling at the point of sale; and for consumers to adopt hygienic practices for storing and cooking meat and vegetable products.
IICA is the specialized agency for agriculture in the Inter-American system, with a mission to encourage, promote and support its 34 Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.
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