The Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) has announced the completion and availability of the document “Model Code for Produce Safety.” AFDO developed this Code in response to a growing number of outbreaks associated with consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Code represents the culmination of a two-year effort by a number of organizations and individuals who were asked to develop a science-based regulatory framework to address the production of all fruits and vegetables, while maintaining the flexibility to appropriately address specific commodities of higher concern. It builds upon existing guidance documents and regulations; and, consistent with AFDO’s mission to promote uniform food safety laws, rules, and regulations, the Code may be viewed as another tool to assist the regulatory community in development of a nationally integrated food safety system.
The Code is also intended to outline consistent, science-based practices in order to minimize the likelihood of multiple regulatory bodies developing conflicting and/or duplicative standards. The effort to develop the Code is the result of collaboration among federal and state regulatory officials, representatives from the fresh produce industry (including grower associations, individual growers, and marketers), representatives from retail, manufacturing, and transportation sectors, academicians, and consumer advocacy groups.
It is intended to address food safety practices for produce (fresh fruits and vegetables) at the farm and packing facility and does not address the additional processing steps or handling that may occur at a fresh-cut processing facility. This Model Code focuses on minimizing the potential for contamination of fresh produce with pathogenic microorganisms of public health significance; however, states, localities, and other users of this document should consider all potential risks associated with the production of produce.