WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumer and food safety groups called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to propose, within six months, requirements for comprehensive and rapid traceability of produce, including leafy greens. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, The Pew Charitable Trusts and five other organizations pressed the FDA in a letter today to take action in light of the still unsolved multistate outbreak of E. coli infections linked to romaine lettuce that has sickened more than 170 people and caused one death.
The groups urged the FDA to implement long overdue provisions of the 2011 FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), which require the agency to establish recordkeeping requirements for high-risk foods to improve its ability to quickly trace the source of foodborne illness and initiate swift recalls. In addition, the groups urged the FDA to enhance communications with the produce and leafy greens industry to ensure full compliance with existing requirements and encourage the adoption of voluntary measures to improve traceability.
In a letter sent to the FDA, the groups noted, “Current technology makes it possible for retailers to track and trace products with extraordinary speed and accuracy. Given these advances, it is no longer acceptable that the FDA has no means to swiftly determine where a bag of lettuce was grown or packaged.”
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