Thursday, November 3, 2022
State and Federal Officials Learn About Agricultural Concerns in Monterey County
Agricultural concerns were the topic of discussion at a recent event hosted by the Monterey County Farm Bureau. Approximately 50 industry members had the opportunity to share ideas and concerns with state and federal officials. The roundtable was organized by the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA). U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannis, California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, and U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta and Zoe Lofgren were all in attendance. California LGMA CEO, Tim York said there were several key points that were discussed during the roundtable.
“One of them was the recent sampling assignment that FDA had undertaken looking at spinach and romaine, taking preharvest sampling. That was just disruptive to the industry and costly,” York explained. “We had a lot of discussion about that and how we would move forward if FDA determines in the future that they need to do that. How can we work together to get ahead of that and have some notice as an industry?”
One of the other agricultural concerns that was highlighted was the overall structure of the FDA. York said that “we really believe as an industry we need one head of human foods.” There are currently multiple different departments that industry members deal with, which can make communication challenging. The state and federal officials were also brought up to speed on the current food safety efforts undertaken by the industry. York pointed out that it was a good opportunity to address one particular issue that has been going on for some time.
“The big elephant in the room with FDA is the trust issue. They in some ways don’t trust industry and we as industry are distrustful of FDA in many ways in which they’ve worked with industry,” said York. “So that big elephant got addressed in our discussions and that message clearly got across to our Congress people as well as to Deputy Commissioner Yiannis. So overall I would say it was a really great day.”
Source: AgNet West