If you are a produce farmer or packer and want to have a say in the rules the federal government plans for your industry you'll want to be at the listening session the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is holding Feb. 20 in Raleigh.
Farmers and packers will be able to learn about the federal government's sweeping proposed safety rules during the session, beginning at 1 p.m and lasting to 5 p.m. in the Scott Building at the N.C. State Fairgrounds.
"The produce safety rule could mean big changes for produce farmers and packers, so it's critical that they learn everything they can about it," says N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, who will be the meeting's host. "This is an important opportunity to hear from the Food and Drug Administration and ask questions before the comment period closes on May 16."
Michael Taylor, FDA's deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, and James Gorny, senior advisor for produce safety, will present information about the rule. Richard Linton, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, will also make remarks.
On Jan. 4, the FDA announced a proposed rule focused on measures that produce farmers and packers should take to prevent the contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables. The agency is collecting comments about the rule before finalizing it.
Individuals interested in attending the listening session are encouraged to register at www.ncagr.gov/FDAlisten so that organizers will have an estimate of the audience size.
To learn more about the rule visit the government web page, "The New FDA Food Safety Modernization Act". Links on the page can take readers to the full text of the law or to implementation progress, speeches, press releases, videos and more.
Readers with questions about the listening session in Raleigh should contact Christina Waggett with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 919-707-3008.