Both organizations said they have been working with members on individual projects to reduce the risk of produce-associated foodborne illnesses from Lm but a joint effort will result in greater efficiency and more impact within the industry.
The working group aims to decrease the risk of Lm associated with fresh produce by advocating for sound science and risk-based US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Lm policy, identifying produce-specific research needs and information sharing.
Dr Jim Gorny, PMA VP of food safety and technology, said members share mutual food safety goals and recognize the value of collaboration.
“And because food safety is everyone’s responsibility across the produce supply chain, this joint working group is composed of members who represent the entire produce supply chain as well as technical subject matter experts.”
Recent Listeria cases in produce include frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods and packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio.
The group’s initial meeting was last week during United Fresh’s Washington Conference; a second meeting will be held in October during PMA’s Fresh Summit Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida.
Dr Jennifer McEntire, United Fresh VP of food safety and technology, said the pathogen continues to challenge the fresh produce industry.
“Leveraging the expertise within both of our associations will accelerate the pace of progress so that our collective members, and the industry at large, have the tools needed to mitigate the risk of Lm.”
Both associations are also members of the Alliance for Listeriosis Prevention (ALP), a coalition of trade groups advocating for sound FDA regulatory policy and to share information about developments in Listeriosis prevention across industry sectors.