From the announcement of Trump finally selected a nominee for secretary of agriculture to FDA issuing a draft guidance for sprout operations, below are this week’s interesting reads:
Trump Names Secretary of Agriculture
After weeks of anticipation, President Trump finally selected his nominee for secretary of agriculture—Georgia’s former governor, Sonny Perdue. This was his final cabinet selection, which came only two days before he was sworn into office.
Who is Mr. Sonny Perdue?
Mr. Perdue is a native of Perry, GA., and grew up on a farm. He received his Ph.D. in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia and then worked as a veterinarian before diving into politics, eventually becoming the first Republican governor of Georgia since Reconstruction.
Perdue initially supported former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas before finally jumping on the Trump train. He has spoken with Trump in detail about his views on agriculture and trade, which includes ways to ensure American producers are not placed at a disadvantage in international agreements.
The Agriculture Department is in charge of farm policy and food safety (FSIS), and the department also funds food stamps, other nutrition programs, and the Forest Service. If confirmed, Perdue would oversee an agency with a $150 billion budget.
Online FSMA Course at Texas A&M
Texas A&M and the Office of the Texas State Chemist will be offering an online course—Hazard Analysis and Preventive Controls for Feed—to help companies establish food safety plans as FSMA deadlines begin.
The course aims to help students understand the science behind preventive controls, while also allowing them to gain insight into how to prepare SOPs, characterize risks, and implement controls.
In addition to getting more education around this topic, students who complete the program will meet the FDA’s requirement related to the role of the Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI), stated Tim Herman, course instructor, state chemist, and director of the office of the Texas State Chemist.
Draft Guidance Issued for Sprout Operations
Earlier this week the FDA announced a new draft guidance, Compliance with and Recommendations for Implementation of the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption for Sprout Operations, to help sprout operations comply with FSMA’s Produce Safety rule.
Sprout operations have new requirements under the Produce Safety rule, as they present a unique risk because of the conditions under which they are typically produced. These conditions are also ideal for the growth of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses.
In fact, according to the FDA, between 1996 and July 2016 there were 46 reported outbreaks associated with sprouts in the U.S., accounting for 2474 illnesses, 187 hospitalizations, and three deaths.
The draft guidance will be available for public comment until July 24, 2017.
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