click image to zoomCourtesy Florida Fruit & Vegetable AssociationJustin Roberson of Lipman, a member of Class 1 of FFVA’s Emerging Leader Development Program, reads to children at the Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s center in Dover. The Florida Specialty Crop Foundation supports several RCMA programs that bene
On behalf of Florida specialty crop growers, FFVA has submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on two proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act. Mike Aerts, FFVA director of membership and marketing, worked with FFVA producer members and other industry groups to develop the response to the proposed Produce Rule and the Preventive Controls Rule.
One of the biggest concerns is the burden of additional costs to comply with the rules as proposed. As with most regulations and laws, the costs are borne by producers, who can’t pass them along to their customers.
"Much in the way of added expense will be thrust upon growers, as overall compliance costs for FSMA will be significant,” Aerts wrote. “A major difficulty is that growers will have to absorb the costs of implementing these regulations. Producers will not be able to pass these costs on to their customers."
A key portion of FFVA’s comments challenged FDA to reconsider some of the assumptions on which it based food safety requirements.
"A review of the proposed rules shows there are issues that need clarification and further discussion, especially where some of the mitigation measures are based on inappropriate assumptions," the comments state. "While we appreciate the sweeping goals of FSMA, the proposed standards must be targeted where they will make a practical difference."
About 7,000 comments were estimated to have been submitted. Anticipating significant revisions in the rules based on that volume of comments, FFVA has joined other agriculture groups in calling on the FDA to publish the rules again for additional comment once they have been revised.
Triple your foundation support
There’s an exciting effort under way that gives you the chance to multiply your generosity threefold. FFVA and FFVA Mutual Insurance Co. have launched a Matching Funds Challenge to raise money for the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, allowing the foundation to potentially triple its fundraising capability.
For every new dollar raised in this challenge for the foundation between now and July 31, both FFVA and FFVA Mutual Insurance will match those dollars, up to $25,000 each for both organizations. So a $100 donation will actually earn $300 for the foundation.
How will those dollars be put to work?
• Partnering with the University of Florida and U.S. Department of Agriculture to pursue specialty crop block grants to fund research and other worthy initiatives to benefit Florida growers;