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Pundit’s Mailbag — Building Regulatory
And Consumer Confidence With Transparency

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, March 2, 2007

We received a nice letter complimenting the pundit on digging in to our pocket to offer $1,000 honorarium to the person who most helps us to improve the draft GAP standards.

Just wanted to applaud you on your approach in incentive based feedback on a universal problem that may open doors not previously opened though limitation of this kind of material to small technical advisory committees. Even though this threat affects the entire industry, there are still “turf” wars in ownership of intellectual property and contributing for the cause of the “whole” rather than the “part.”

— Fred Reimers
Creative FoodSafe Solutions
Schertz, Texas

These GAP standards are important.

This season is pretty much set, so the draft standards, with whatever augmentation the processors each add, seems to be the de facto standard for this Salinas season. But the final version, the one that, presumably, WGA, United, PMA will sign off on and that the FDA will at least tacitly endorse, is still being developed.

We ran a piece entitled WGA’s Secret Science Panel urging WGA to answer five simple questions about the panel of scientists supposedly drawing up the GAP standards:

  1. Who is on this committee and how were they selected?
  2. Do they have any conflicts of interest?
  3. Have they each endorsed the draft GAP document?
  4. Have they been asked to draw up dissenting reports on areas where they would like to see different standards?
  5. What was the charge given the scientists?

In testimony before a joint committee meeting of the California Assembly and Senate, we heard no mention of a panel of scientists that drew up the standards. Instead we heard about six scientists who are vetting the GAP metrics.

You don’t get credibility by repeating the word scientist. You gain credibility by showing that the scientists you’ve got are credible.

We need good ideas. That is why we dug into our pocket to post a grand to help the industry .

But we also need good scientists to vouch for the plan, publicly, with their recommendations for improvements.

This is the prerequisite to build regulatory and consumer confidence in industry food safety efforts.

What is the big secret anyway?

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