Produce packing guides

Concerned over recent statements by Food and Drug Administration officials, 16 produce organizations sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala objecting to a reported plan by FDA to develop commodity-specific guidance to govern the growing, harvesting, and distribution of specific commodities.

The distribution portion is expected to include containers or other packaging used. A manual on how to grow, harvest and ship specific product commodities won't work, said Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Asson., because "you can't get any five produce commodity growers to agree on the same set of practices for a specific commodity." The organizations did, however, support the idea of a broad industry guidance document that identifies significant risk factors that may give rise to microbiological hazards.

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