United Fresh also offers Listeria monocytogenes intervention and control workshops in collaboration with the Produce Marketing Association (PMA). “The two-day workshops focus on sanitary design, sanitation best practices, environmental monitoring, and more,” Dr. McEntire says. “More than 300 people have participated in these workshops since they were launched in July 2017.
“Luckily, fresh produce hasn’t suffered notable Listeria-related outbreaks recently, but FDA’s swabathons, the increased use of whole genome sequencing, and the desire for continuous improvement make the United Fresh-PMA Listeria workshops popular events,” Dr. McEntire continues. “We’ll hold several of them in 2019, in Atlanta, Ga., Yakima, Wash., and the Midwest.”
Dr. McEntire says that most United Fresh Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) trainings have transitioned into “maintenance mode,” and emphasis has shifted to helping members understand how the various rules will be enforced. “The comment period is open for two FSMA guidance documents of key interest to the fresh produce industry, one related to the Produce Safety Rule, and the other explaining how Preventive Controls applies to fresh-cut facilities,” she notes. “The Food Safety & Technology Council, one of United Fresh’s expert advisory councils, is actively drafting comments, and FDA has offered to give webinars to our members on these topics.”