The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported continuing progress to ensure the safety of food imported from Mexico at the virtual annual meeting of the FDA-SENASICA-Cofepris Food Safety Partnership (FSP), held on August 20, 2021.
In September 2020, the FDA, the National Service of Agro-Alimentary Public Health Safety and Quality (SENASICA) and the Federal Commission for the Protection from Sanitary Risks (Cofepris), signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) that broadens and strengthens the scope of the existing Produce Safety Partnership established in 2014, to include all human food regulated by the FDA. One third of all FDA-regulated human food imported into the U.S. is from Mexico.
Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response opened the meeting for the FDA, followed by remarks by Dr. Francisco Javier Trujillo Arriaga, Director in Chief, SENASICA and Dr. Alejandro Svarch Pérez, Federal Commissioner, Cofepris.
The three agencies provided updates to address FSP’s four key priorities:
- Outbreak response
- Laboratory collaboration
- Outreach and food safety training
Working groups established at the start of the FSP reported tangible progress toward better protections for public health – particularly in the areas of exchanging analytical methods to improve detection and reduce exposure to food contaminated with Cyclospora cayetanensis. In addition, important work on increased data-sharing to improve outbreak response communications continues between the three agencies.
The FSP also continues to facilitate outreach and training in multiple languages on the FDA’s Produce Safety Rule (PSR), to the produce industry. Generally, the PSR, one of seven rules established under the landmark FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), applies to certain produce imported or offered for import in the U.S.
Since September 2020, through collaborative efforts with SENASICA and the Mexican papaya industry, more than 300 growers have been trained on the Produce Safety Alliance’s Grower Training curricula. We continue to see positive trends from the implementation of improved papaya practices.
The FSP aligns with the aims of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint through its core elements of tech-enabled traceability, smarter tools and approaches for prevention and outbreak response, new business models and business modernization, and food safety culture.
The FDA has launched a new Web page, which includes resources in both English and Spanish, to communicate the progress of the FSP to stakeholders.