U.S. Food and Drug Administration Experts Visit Berry Farms in Chile

Minister of Agriculture Antonio Walker, the Governor of the province of Curicó Roberto Gonzalez, the Executive Director of the Agency for Food Safety and Quality Nuri Gras and participants closely observe a presentation in Curicó by Gonzalo Ibáñez, of the FDA Chile office.

On January 17 and 21 to 24, 2020, produce safety experts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (@FDA) visited berry farms in Linares and Curicó, Chile, to meet with Chilean producers. @FDA experts from the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) and a Cooperative Extension expert from the U.S carried out International On-Farm Readiness Review (I-OFRR) exercises at four berry farms to support the efforts of berry producers and exporters to better align their practices and operations with food safety standards set forth in the produce safety regulation of the United States.

@FDA experts took the opportunity to learn from Chilean government officials and industry about how Chilean small producers get their agricultural products into the supply chain through national and multinational consolidators, processors and exporters for the U.S. market. In addition to berry producers and exporters from Curicó, producers from other locations in the Maule region also participated in this voluntary program. Likewise, officials from @ACHIPIA, @SAG, @INDAP, @INIA of Chile’s Ministry of Agriculture participated actively in this program.

Fresh blueberries, after table grapes, constitute the second most important fresh produce in exports of fresh fruit from Chile to the United States. The VII region of Maule, Chile (Curicó, Linares and Talca) is responsible for 29% of the national production of blueberries. On the other hand, frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries) have an economic and social impact of great importance for small agricultural producers, many of which are produced in the Maule Region and exported to the United States.

This was the second activity of this OFRR-I program in Chile, after the first OFRR-I activity was carried out, outside the United States, in March 2019, in several regions of Chile. The @FDA developed this international program in 2019 to provide opportunities to fresh produce producers and exporters that export to the U.S. to assess how well they are prepared to meet U.S. food safety standards and requirements of the Produce Safety Rule of the U.S.  The Produce Safety Rule implements provisions of the landmark Food Safety Modernization Act or FSMA, which required that FDA establish science-based, minimum standards for safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fresh produce. It sets mandatory minimum standards for employee health and hygiene; soil amendments (compost/ manure); equipment, tools and buildings; and domesticated and wild animals.

Additional information about @FDA International-OFRR

@FDA’s International-OFRR tool is a voluntary, educational opportunity for farmers to assess how well they are prepared to meet the requirements of the U.S. Produce Safety Rule (PSR).  The Produce Safety Rule is one of the seven foundational rules in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The On-Farm Readiness Review promotes compliance with the PSR, provides on-farm learning experiences, promotes coordination between fresh produce stakeholders, identifies knowledge gaps, and helps farms better prepare for @FDA routine inspections.