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FDA Collaborates With Mexican Officials on Food-Safety TestingFDA Collaborates With Mexican Officials on Food-Safety Testing

April 12, 2013

2 Min Read
FDA Collaborates With Mexican Officials on Food-Safety Testing

WASHINGTONThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working with public health officials in Mexico to improve food safety testing south of the American border.

Fifteen months ago, FDA scientists met with Mexico's National Service of Health, Food Safety and Agro-Alimentary Quality (SENASICA) officials and visited laboratories in a quest to improve collaboration and learn more about lab operations, practices, methods and quality assurance, an FDA official said this week.

"In Mexico, the key objectives of this FDA/SENASICA collaboration include improving communications and laboratory capacity, consulting with SENASICA on the development, validation and implementation of testing methods, and participation in proficiency programs," Carl Sciacchitano, a senior advisor for scientific international affairs in FDA's Office of International Programs, wrote in a blog Wednesday.

Sciacchitano noted an FDA/SENASICA program has been created in an effort to strengthen lab capacity and capabilities. FDA officials participating in the program include experts from the agency's Office of International Programs in Mexico City, Office of Regulatory Afairs, and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Strengthening the safety of the global food supply chain is important given that roughly 15% of U.S. food is imported. FDA has traditionally relied on inspections to monitor food coming from other countries, but the agency only has the resources to inspect a very small percentage of imports. Recent outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States have been traced to Mexico and other countries. For instance, in 2011, papayas from Mexico were linked to roughly 100 cases of Salmonella Agona in 23 U.S. states.

"To respond to increasing globalization FDA must extend its reach beyond U.S. borders," the agency stated in "FDA's International Food Safety Capacity-Building Plan", which was released in February. "The responsibility for safe food must move upstream in the supply chain, closer to the source of the food."

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