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North Carolina Talks New Food Safety Rules With FDA

A picture of fresh produce.
Jina Lee

North Carolina farmers and distributors are expected to get an earful from the Food and Drug Administration today.

The gathering in Greensboro is an official FDA listening session about implementation of the Food Safety and Modernization Act.  It was signed into law in 2011.

Joe Reardon is North Carolina's Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture for Consumer Protection.

“A rule that meets public health objectives or is this a rule that exceeds what’s necessary or if the impact of this rule is going to be as such, can the industry even comply with these rules," said Reardon.

Reardon says out of the seven rules being implemented, the "produce rule" affects the state the most.

“For the very first time in our history we will have rules that actually go and start at the very farm the growing the harvesting the packing of produce now will be done with implementing regulations and that’s never happened before in our history," said Reardon.

Reardon says the cost of implementing the rules is expected to exceed $2 billion nationally.  He does not know how much it will cost farmers across the state to comply with the new rules.

Thursday's FDA listening session is in Greensboro at North Carolina A&T State University in the Coltrane Hall.

More than 100 people have signed-up to attend, from the strawberry and blueberry associations to the feed mill manufacturers.

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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