Agriculture Department: Public Input Sought for May 13 Food Safety Listening Session

SOURCE: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (See original article HERE)

State, Federal Officials Seek Insight on Fresh Produce Processing, Handling

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Pennsylvania produce growers and food processors are invited to share their input on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new produce handling rule at a May 13 listening session in Harrisburg, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today.

The session will be held from 9 a.m. – noon at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center.

“As leaders in producing a variety of agricultural products, Pennsylvania produce growers and food processors are in position to offer valuable insight in national food safety discussions,” said Redding. “It is important that our industry take advantage of the opportunity to help shape federal policy regarding production and processing activities.

“By hosting this listening session, Pennsylvania continues to be a leader in the production of a safe, abundant food supply.”

Redding, state Health Secretary Everette James and FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael R. Taylor will attend to hear concerns and answer questions. The listening session will also feature presentations by produce industry professionals.

The listening session is intended to ensure Pennsylvania’s agriculture and food production sectors and public health partners keep pace with changing federal regulations.

“Locally grown produce is an essential component of a healthy diet, but outbreaks have shown it can also be a source for food borne illness,” said James. “It’s important for Pennsylvania farmers to provide the FDA with input to ensure that new food safety regulations protect their businesses and the public health.”

Redding and James co-chair the Governor’s Food Safety Council, a unique group of agriculture, health and emergency management professionals convened by Governor Rendell in 2009. The council advises the Governor on developing and implementing food safety, defense protocols and best practices in the state.

The listening session is open to the public and registration is requested. To register, contact Jared Grissinger at 717-705-9513 or jgrissinge@state.pa.us

Media contacts:

Nicole L. C. Bucher, Agriculture; 717-787-5085; Claudine Battisti, Health; 717-787-1783

http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us

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