The Food and Drug Administration has estimated that 280 fresh-cut U.S. produce operations will need a combined 47,000 hours (an average of about 4 work weeks) every year to comply with the agency’s food safety guidance.
In a notice published Jan. 27, the FDA said there are 280 fresh-cut plants in the U.S. and predicted about 10 new firms will enter the fresh cut industry in the next ten years.
In the notice, the FDA estimated the record-keeping burden on the fresh-cut industry to follow the agency’s “Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Fresh-cut Fruits and Vegetables,” which is designed to help processors avoid contamination from pathogens.
Two general recommendations call for fresh-cut operators to develop and implement a Standard Operating Procedures Plan and Sanitary Standard Operation Procedures, according to the notice. The FDA estimates that 40% of existing processors — or 112 firms — do not have these plans in place.
For those firms, plus the estimated 10 new processors, more than 27,000 hours will be required to maintain the plans, according to the FDA.
The FDA estimated the annual burden to maintain traceback data for 290 fresh-cut processors will be nearly 12,000 hours per year. Implementation and review of preventive control programs will total nearly 6,000 hours per year for fresh-cut firms, according to the notice.
Comments on the notice will be accepted through Feb. 26, according to the notice.