Latin American countries modernize food safety standards, study says
Chile, Mexico and Peru are three of five major fruit-growing nations whose safety standards were analyzed in a study by the Produce Safety Project of Georgetown University, the group said in a news release.
In all three cases, government agencies and private companies have cooperated to develop and uphold safety standards regarding pesticide use, hygiene, packing and shipping, and the tracking of produce, according to the report prepared by Monachus Consulting, a Canada-based agriculture consultancy.
The countries used various guidelines issued by the World Health Organization as a guide, including the Codex Alimentarius Commission standards or the Codex General Principles for Food Hygiene, according to the report titled “Legal and Regulatory Frameworks Governing the Growing, Packing and Handling of Fresh Produce in Countries Exporting to the U.S.”
In Chile, the government has prioritized making the nation a “food power” and promoting it as a source of “safe and healthy” foods, the report said. Its second set of national food safety standards went into effect in 2009.
Mexico has made it a felony to alter or contaminate food under its general food safety law. It has a voluntary tracking regime to trace fruit and vegetables from field to store, the report said. Its plant health law requires exporters to obtain phytosanitary certificates.
Peru, a major world supplier of asparagus, updated its food safety law in 2008, setting rules for every step in the supply chain, an approach known as “food to fork,” the report said.
All three nations are major exporters to the United States, which is considering its own safety rules for fresh produce, the Produce Safety Project release said.
The improvements developed alongside the huge increase in fresh fruit exports to the United States that began in the late-1990s, the report said. An overhaul of import rules in the European Union that took affect in 2006 also pushed food-producing nations to raise their standard, the report said.