Fresh Produce Testing by USDA Dead Today

Posted on January 2, 2013 by

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The USDA MDP program is dead today and it is a loss to consumers. US Food Safety received the following e-mail to Tweet this information to our followers:

Can you do a tweet to your subscribers stating that USDA’s Microbiological data program [MDP] is dead starting today.  MDP is touted as performing 80% of government testing of fresh produce.   United Fresh is probably uncorking champagne today after intense lobbying of congress and USDA to close this tiny but efficient program.   The public will be the losers in this politically mediated decision to terminate this program.

Here are some snippets from the USDA website about what the MDP program did.

In Fiscal Year 2001, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was charged with implementing a monitoring program to collect information regarding the incidence, number, and species of important foodborne pathogens and indicator organisms on domestic and imported fresh fruit and vegetables. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) was appointed to undertake the creation and implementation of such a program, currently known as the Microbiological Data Program (MDP). MDP began collecting and analyzing samples in April 2001.
 
In a November 2012 article in The Packer, an industry trade publication,Ray Gilmer, vice president of the United Fresh Produce Association in Washington D.C., said the organization thought the USDA was the wrong agency to handle such a program. He said United Fresh generally supports the Food and Drug Administration’s public health mission and that FDA would be more appropriate for such work.Gilmer “We think FDA is best equipped to administer these kinds of programs,” Gilmer said Nov. 12. “We generally support funding for FDA’s public health mission.Ending this program,  may put consumers well-being in jeopardy.

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Posted in: Family safety