If you take a closer look at some of the fruits and vegetables that are sold in your grocers’ produce aisle, you’ll notice that a lot of it originates from Mexico. Similarly, many of the perishable foods bought and sold in Mexico come from the U.S. It’s with this mutual trade and exchange of foods that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Mexican government recently reached an agreement that will improve the safety of the foods sold to consumers.
The FDA and Mexican government’s National Service for Agro-Alimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA), along with the Federal Commission for the Protection from Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS), released a statement that talks about how the countries will further protect the agricultural products sold in the respective nations.
“To be successful as regulators, the FDA must continue developing new strategies and partnerships that allow us to more comprehensively and collectively respond to the challenges that come with globalization,” said Margaret, Hamburg, M.D., FDA commissioner. “The FDA is working with our Mexican government counterparts as well as stakeholders from industry, commerce, agriculture, and academia to ensure the safety of products for American and Mexican consumers.”
How the U.S. Mexico food safety agreement came about
The mutual agreement came after Hamburg recently traveled to Mexico in order to discuss what regulations are in place for produce safety, meeting with representatives for COFEPRIS, SENASICA as well as the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA). The formal meeting proved to be successful, as the two countries agreed to collaborate in order to improve information sharing, so that product safety issues are better advertised to the public, which can help stave off food-borne diseases.
“This collaboration is a priority for public health,” said Mikel Arriola Penalosa, COFEPRIS federal commissioner. “The partnership will focus on implementing preventive practices and food verification measures that meet the guidelines and best international practices for produce safety.”
No country exports more FDA-regulated food into the U.S. than Mexico, including most fresh vegetables, fruit other than bananas, wine, beer and snack foods.
Enrique Sanchez Cruz, SENASICA chief director, added that the heightened focus on health and safety helps make U.S. and Mexico-based businesses more competitive.
Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said that the partnership Mexico and the U.S. has formed is a win-win for everyone involved.
“FDA has a long-standing relationship with Mexico on food safety,” said Taylor. “Modernization efforts underway on both sides of the border provide an opportunity to make this partnership even stronger.”
Moving forward, the respective governments will share information to get a better idea of what systems each country uses to ensure that the produce bought and sold is safe for consumption.