New Mexico’s farmers, ranchers and food processors are invited to attend one of three workshops across the state to help them better understand how new federal food safety legislation could impact their business.
New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) and the Southwest Border Food Safety and Defense Center at New Mexico State University (NMSU) are hosting the workshops to explain the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FSMA is federal legislation that is being implemented by and will be regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the FDA, the new law “enables FDA to focus more on preventing food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to problems after they occur.”
FSMA provides for FDA to mandate new produce safety standards and preventive controls for food facilities, among other new measures of authority. Because FSMA covers such wide-ranging areas as prevention, inspection, response and imports, FDA will implement it portions at a time over the next few years.
“The first goal of these workshops is to share the most current, useful information about FSMA with New Mexico’s food producers,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. “The second goal is to ask for input from attendees so I can share with the FDA just how this law will affect our farmers, ranchers and others who are in the business of producing food in New Mexico.”
Debra Garrison of PrimusLabs, a food safety consulting firm that works with companies throughout the produce and manufactured foods industry, and Tyler Holmes, food safety manager for Morrow Farms, a family-owned farm in Hatch, will lead the workshops.
Because FDA is seeking public comment on FSMA, NMDA also will use the workshops to gather input on the first parts of the law to be implemented. NMDA will compile that feedback and send it to FDA before the current public comment period ends May 16.
Each of the three workshops will begin at 3 p.m. No end time has been set:
• April 29: Colfax Room, Corbett Center, NMSU, near the corner of Stewart and South Locust streets, Las Cruces;
• April 30: Roosevelt County Extension Office, 705 East Lime St., Portales; and
• May 1: Room 203, NMSU Albuquerque Center, 4501 Indian School Rd., NE, Albuquerque.
The workshops are free and are open to any farmer, rancher or food producer in New Mexico.
For more information about the workshops, call 575-646-4929 or go here.