Following the June 8-10 United Fresh Produce Association’s annual convention in Chicago, IL, USA, GLOBALG.A.P., in partnership with United Fresh, held its first TOUR stop in North America in several years. The 4-hour, June 11 industry conference attended by 85 people was themed “The Sense and Nonsense of Farm Certification”, and brought together leading government, retailer, producer and NGO representatives for an informative and lively debate on current topics.

The conference began with welcome addresses from Tom Stenzel, United Fresh’s President and CEO, and GLOBALG.A.P. CEO Dr. Kristian Moeller. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Deputy Commissioner, Michael Taylor, delivered the keynote speech on the FDA’s view of the role of on-farm audits in the coming era of the landmark FSMA legislation. The FSMA rules will bring sweeping changes to the USA agricultural market and represent the most significant changes in federal farming policy since the 1930s.

Mr. Taylor reported that the FDA was on schedule to finalize the Produce Safety Rules in October. He indicated that private sector audits play a vital role in public food safety, and complement government regulations and inspections.

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