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FDA, produce community continue FSMA collaboration

The Produce Marketing Association applauded the FDA’s release of revised supplemental proposals for the Food Safety Modernization Act around produce safety, and preventative controls for human food, animal feed and foreign supplier verification programs.

“PMA’s members on our Science and Technology committee, as well as staff experts, are pleased that FDA has provided a second opportunity for industry to comment on these supplemental proposals,” said Dr. Bob Whitaker, PMA’s chief science and technology officer, in a media statement.

“We’re eager to review and assess them to assure that when these regulations are finalized and implemented they will best serve public health and our industry’s food safety needs.”

On Friday, Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for the FDA’s foods and veterinary medicine, led a call for the food industry to discuss the main components of the proposed rules.

Taylor pointed to the importance of ongoing discussions between the produce community and the FDA in developing the revised proposals and fact sheets.

“It’s all aimed at the goal that we have been very clear about throughout — that we want to implement this law in a way that makes a real difference for food safety, that meets those consumer expectations, but also do it in a way that is workable. That works across the diversity of the food system. That’s the goal that we’re all after,” said Taylor.

Some of the revisions would:

• Exempt small-farms making less than $ 25,000 in produce sales from the produce-safety rule.

• Exempt spent grains (leftover from alcohol brewing) from the animal food rule if the company is already following the human food rule.

• Change water testing provisions to “account for natural variations in water sources.”

• Allow more flexibility in foreign supplier verification.

PMA plans to hold a FSMA workshop with Taylor on the supplemental proposals at the Fresh Summit produce show in Anaheim, Calif. on Oct. 17.

The FDA comment period is 75 days after the rules are published on Sept. 29.

“We are on a very tight schedule to complete the rulemaking by court deadline that require us to issue final rules,” said Taylor.
 

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Turbana taps into community opinion to find new social program to support

25Klogo-copyCorporations often donate money to charities or non-profits, but it’s rare to find an organization that lets the consumer decide where their support should go. Turbana, a premier banana producer,  is taking its social movement “Growing Smiles, Sharing Goodness” to a new level by encouraging the community to speak up and choose causes close to their own hearts and homes.25kGroupPromo-copy The community cause that receives the most votes will win a $ 25,000 sponsorship, and Turbana will work with community members to instate a program that supports the cause.

Dubbed “Win 25K For Your Cause,” this interactive contest gives the community a chance to speak up, take action and have a big effect. The contest is fully housed within Turbana’s Facebook, and it is driven by consumer engagement, votes and shares throughout the period of July 1-Aug. 12. Consumers visiting the tab are invited to “tally” themselves into Turbana’s ongoing “Growing Smiles, Sharing Goodness” movement, which focuses on empowering individuals to do good for their communities. During the voting period, they can nominate a cause of their choice or vote for a cause that has already been nominated.

Since Turbana’s main focus is on inspiring healthier, happier communities, it’s only appropriate that the company takes on such an ambitious call-to-action. Born from a cooperative of farmers seeking a better standard of living, Turbana takes pride in empowering the communities in which it is present.

“Win 25K For Your Cause” will empower individuals to make a difference by bringing light to community organizations that need support, while simultaneously bringing about positive change in their local areas. Turbana aims to produce a snowball effect by using the company’s own enthusiasm and passion for community involvement to inspire individuals to participate in giving back to their communities across the nation.

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Six retailers win FMI Community Outreach Awards

Food Marketing Institute on Thursday announced the six winners of its 2013 Community Outreach Awards.

The awards recognize creative, charitable programs carried out by food retailers to enhance the lives of those in the communities where they operate.


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“These programs, and all those submitted, serve as vivid reminders that the longstanding tradition of the neighborhood supermarket enriching the life of its community is alive and well,” said David Fikes, FMI’s VP of communications and consumer affairs. “Reaching well beyond the food they provide their shoppers, grocery stores seek to be an involved light in the local community, a beacon of shining hope.”

Two winners were selected in each of three categories: programs addressing food insecurity, youth development and neighborhood health improvement programs. Each of the six winners will receive $ 1,000 from FMI to further their program.

The winners among programs addressing food insecurity were:

• PCC Natural Market: Shoppers contribute cash donations and reusable bag rebates to fund the purchase of bulk food, which is repackaged at bi-monthly parties at 10 partner food pantries.

• Hy-Vee: This yearly campaign, created in 2002 to reenergize a 25-year-old partnership with Iowa’s largest food pantry, showcases Hy-Vee employees’ creativity and consumers’ generosity.

The winners among neighborhood health improvement programs were:

• Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland: Through a partnership with the city of Baltimore and nonprofits, the event allowed citizens to voluntarily surrender guns and receive a $ 100 ShopRite gift card.

• First Alternative Co-Op: Shoppers using reusable bags place their vote between charities and, over the course of the year, 16 charities receive a proportional donation.

The winners among youth development programs were:

• Safeway: High-schoolers from local underserved communities participate in workshops and activities structured to help students achieve professional success despite life challenges.

• Big Y Food Stores, Inc.: This youth program focuses on Y-AIM: (a)chieve academically, (i)spire to attend college, (m)ove toward personal, family and community advancement.

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Attendees of Maine Community Dinner May Have Been Exposed to Hep A

Health officials in Maine have traced a case of hepatitis A back to a community dinner in the town of Durham. Attendees who ate at the Durham Friends Meetinghouse over the weekend of Sept. 28 have been encouraged to receive a vaccine for hepatitis A if they have not previously been vaccinated.

Approximately 100 people are believed to have attended the dinner.

Those who receive vaccines within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A have a good chance of staving off illness.

The Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hold a free vaccination clinic on Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Durham Eureka Community Center.

Symptoms of hepatitis A vaccine include fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Food Safety News

Attendees of Maine Community Dinner May Have Been Exposed to Hep A

Health officials in Maine have traced a case of hepatitis A back to a community dinner in the town of Durham. Attendees who ate at the Durham Friends Meetinghouse over the weekend of Sept. 28 have been encouraged to receive a vaccine for hepatitis A if they have not previously been vaccinated.

Approximately 100 people are believed to have attended the dinner.

Those who receive vaccines within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A have a good chance of staving off illness.

The Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hold a free vaccination clinic on Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Durham Eureka Community Center.

Symptoms of hepatitis A vaccine include fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Food Safety News

Community Board OKs FreshDirect Move

NEW YORK — Bronx Community Board 1 has endorsed FreshDirect’s plans to build a state-of-the-art operation facility at the Harlem River Yard in the South Bronx.


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Fresh Direct is pursuing a slight modification to the original Harlem River Yard development plan from 1995, which requires approval from the city’s Planning Commission and the Mayor’s office. Bronx Community Board 1 voted to support that modification.

“FreshDirect is grateful for Community Board 1’s support and we look forward to making the South Bronx our new home in the coming years,” Jason Ackerman, chief executive officer of FreshDirect, said in a staement. “While we appreciate that a vocal but small number of people have concerns, we are committed to winning them over by delivering on the promises we have made to the community and working with local leaders to identify ways to make the relationship between FreshDirect and the South Bronx even stronger.”

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