FDA to Include Processed Avocados in Microbiologic Sampling Assignment
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed the inclusion of processed avocados in their next round of microbiologic sampling assignments, expected to begin in 2017. FDA states the sampling assignment’s purpose is to “Increase the Agency’s understanding of the sources of contamination in food so that we can more effectively allocate resources to address public health risks.” According to FDA, “This approach focuses resources on filling data and/or knowledge gaps on the prevalence of microbiological hazards associated with specific commodities and/or practices of higher potential risk to inform Agency decision making.” The sampling assignment involves the “collection of a statistically significant number of samples over a relatively short period of time (approximately 12 to 18 months), and establishes standardized, transparent and collaborative processes, as well as increased communication with industry and regulatory stakeholders.”
Because the assignment is not on fresh avocado, and most (if not all) processed avocado and guacamole production activities are done outside of California, the California Avocado Commission does not expect much direct impact on the California industry. However, the Commission will continue to track the assignment and when possible remain engaged with FDA to ensure the California avocado industry is not negatively impacted.