LGMA and PMA Weigh in on FDA’S 2020 Leafy Greens Action Plan
UNITED STATES - As of late, the phrases “leafy greens” and “food safety” have seemingly gone hand-in-hand. The industry as a whole has experienced the impact of foodborne illness in this category, and in response has worked night and day to find a solution. Last week, the FDA released its 2020 Leafy Greens STEC Action Plan, detailing prevention strategies for the well-being of buyers and suppliers alike.
“FDA’s Action Plan lays out a pathway forward built on stronger collaboration and cooperation among the grower community, CA and AZ LGMA’s, researchers, and a host of state and national government agencies,” commented April Ward, Communications Director of the California LGMA, in response to the report. “The LGMA applauds the efforts of Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas and his colleagues to make the process inclusive and in partnership with all stakeholders in the supply chain from field to store, restaurant, and consumers.”
According to Ward, LGMA’s success is directly tied to the FDA’s involvement in food safety prevention. Any input provided by the FDA including product testing data, research, and information gathered through outbreak investigations is extremely useful as the organization works to improve its systems.
In addition to LGMA, other organizations like PMA rely heavily on the FDA for updates such as the STEC Action Plan.
According to Dr. Max Teplitski, PMA’s Chief Science Officer, “it will be critical to work collaboratively to identify metrics for the efforts that the industry and our public health agency research and regulatory partners can commit to as well as resources needed to achieve our common goal of minimizing risks associated with the consumption of leafy greens and engendering trust in foods.”
Dr. Teplitski continued, "We applaud the FDA’s determination to continue to engage in conversations in real-time with all stakeholders at critical times. PMA is committed to delineating the vision and opportunities for re-engaging and incentivizing the industry towards building a mutually beneficial data bank for sharing and analyzing data. FDA’s commitment to provide a timely analysis of the outbreak investigation reports to support a roadmap for prevention is highly welcomed. Further, we underscore the importance of collaboration in identifying opportunities for sustained longitudinal surveillance and capacity building for timely root-cause analyses. Clearly, timely root-cause analyses and opportunities to fill knowledge gaps, outside of immediate outbreak events, can only be successful when all parties share data. Mechanisms must be put in place to facilitate data collection and sharing, and development of novel tools for predictive modeling to promote learning. In the process, we must engender trust, ensure protection of proprietary information and recognize efforts of those committed to participating in improving public health protection.”
We at ANUK commend the work of the FDA, LGMA, PMA, and the industry as a whole as they work to support the market with preventative measures against foodborne illness.