Home > Transparency Posts > The US and Mexico Share Approaches on Food Safety

The US and Mexico Share Approaches on Food Safety

In June, I had the opportunity to lead a delegation of food safety officials from the Food and Drug Administration to meet with our Mexican counterparts. The trip was part of a larger, proactive strategy to reach out to stakeholders, both domestic and foreign, to explain the background and implementation strategies for the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and importantly, to listen to issues raised by stakeholders. Following Canada, Mexico is the largest exporter of foods to the United States. It was an exciting opportunity to meet with Mexican officials, not only to provide outreach on our new law, but also to gain a better understanding of Mexican food safety interests and challenges, and to identify areas for collaboration to further ensure the safety of foods for our respective populations.

Throughout the discussions, our team was impressed with the level of agreement on overarching principles and strategies to assure foods are safe for our respective populations. Like us, Mexico has embraced food safety as a priority and is in the process of establishing new mandatory food safety regulations, including produce safety regulations. Some of the key themes that were emphasized throughout our discussions were consumer protection, science- based standards, the need for importer controls, the importance and role of third- party certification. Throughout our discussions, I felt that I was indeed hearing many of the principles embodied in FSMA, such as the importance of prevention, the need to establish strong partnerships, a robust import program, and an effective program of risk-based inspections. In addition, there was a common recognition of the importance of making sure new regulations consider trade impacts, and the importance of transparency in rulemaking. Our strong alignment on key principles was both gratifying and extremely encouraging.

We had a whirlwind schedule. Highlights are as follows:

Our FDA delegation was welcomed to Mexico by Honorable John D. Feeley, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires to Mexico, and Mr. James H. Williams, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. The FDA delegation also met with representatives of U.S. agencies at the U.S. embassy in Mexico from Foreign Agricultural Services, Foreign Commercial Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; and the State Department Economic Section. Embassy officials were very helpful in sharing their perspectives on FSMA and potential cooperative activities with Mexico. Last year, FDA opened its new office in Mexico City. We were delighted to see our staff integrated into US Embassy activities and representing the agency in a stellar manner with our regulatory counterparts.

Next, we had an informative meeting with Mexican Government agencies involved in food safety. Mexican Government agencies represented included: Secretariat of Agriculture – Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación / Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASICA); Secretariat of Health – Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios (COFEPRIS); Secretariat of Economy – Secretaria de Economía; Secretariat of Foreign Affairs – Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores; and Secretariat of the Environment- Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (which is the agency in charge of CONAGUA which plays an essential role in helping to ensure the quality of water used in farming and agriculture). Later in the day, we had a discussion with SENASICA to learn more and discuss their latest proposal for the revision of the FDA-SENASICA Cantaloupe MOU, which is scheduled to expire in October, 28, 2011. The parties agreed to further discuss possible opportunities for the enhancement of the MOU including possible enhanced collaboration on technical and operational protocols, exchange of regulatory information, as well as on food safety research.

We had the pleasure of having lunch with representatives of Mexican academic institutions including: National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México); National Polytechnic Institute (National Instituto Politecnico); The Autonomous University of Puebla (Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla); and the Postgraduate College (Colegio de Postgraduados). The luncheon emphasized the important contribution of academia to the regulatory process on innovation and research, not only in food safety science but also in pubic health, political science, and business management.

One of the most dynamic parts of the day was a joint FDA, SENASICA and COFEPRIS roundtable with Mexican industry and trade organizations. Industry and trade expressed their concerns, views, and suggestions on FSMA. Participants discussed Mexico’s inspection protocols and FDA’s inspection procedures and import protocols at the border. We addressed questions related to produce safety preventive controls.

Following the meeting with industry, I participated in a press conference with senior officials from SENASICA and COFEPRIS and Mexican news media during which we were able to reinforce common messages on food safety.

We had a wonderful, productive day in Mexico. We acknowledged and indeed celebrated our common commitment to food safety.

Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods

  1. July 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    It is nice to see multiple countries working together to increase transparency about how our food is being handled! Thank you for this post!

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  2. Anonymous
    July 13, 2011 at 12:18 am

    I am very happy to see cooperation between our countries because I know we are getting food from there. I have traveled through some areas and worked with some very good people in Mexico but I also know there are issues of corruption so while I support this I think it must be honestly monitored consistently.

  3. July 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Working with Mexico is the only way forward and I hope the FDA has complete success in this area because it is a vital area.

  4. July 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    That good to work together across countries.

    Hopefully that will more like a brotherhood and that borders are only imaginary.

    Congratulations on your work.

    • YVJeffery
      May 10, 2012 at 6:50 am

      Hah Good idea!!!

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      August 2, 2013 at 4:45 pm

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  5. July 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    This really needs to be done, there is so much corruption in those areas.

  6. July 16, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Well, good post I have to say. You have described it greatly; it will help me in my research. Thanks

  7. July 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Good to see the two countries coperating.

  8. July 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    It’s about sharing, and if we collaborate with other neighbors it think it will make a boost.

  9. Jay
    August 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Working in conjunction with Mexico is vital for the US in these areas.

  10. August 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Good news! Thank you!

  11. August 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Posts are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up

  12. August 15, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Good to see the two countries coperating.

  13. September 10, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Thank you very much for yourt post.İt’s a good idea for food safety

  14. September 10, 2011 at 6:54 am

    wow good thing for food safety.Thank you

  15. September 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Just that should be done. no such complication in having a meeting to explain the new rules and listening to stakeholders. Fine with me who has participated leading academic institutions in Mexico, that means there is interest. All these agreements are for the health of consumers.

  16. September 14, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Good to see the two countries coperating. Thank you

  17. September 17, 2011 at 9:38 am

    It makes all the sense that Mexico and US work together in food safety. They are neighbor countries. Lots of goods cross the border each way and each day.

  18. September 18, 2011 at 11:01 am

    thank you for your good things and good ideas for foot safety.

  19. September 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    With the worrying number of food recalls happening regularly in America and all the stories in the news every year about major producers and the like violating food safety standards, it’s good to see that those in charge of regulating in this area are trying to work together inter-nationally to improve safety. Protecting public health from this angle can’t be worked on too much and co-operation is a smart thing to strive for…

  20. September 23, 2011 at 12:17 am

    I was somewhat amazed to hear that Mexico actually had a Food and Drug administration, but I guess it is to be expected. We do like our Mexican food don’t we and it is no doubt worthwhile clamping down on any potential safety and hygene issues. I am so glad to see they seem to agree.

    Thanks for the take on how the next few years of US/Mexican multiculturalism will continue.

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    September 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

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  23. October 6, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I have travelled to mexico for some time and enjoy the country greatly. I also feel that the food there has been top notch. one of the reasons that I travel back so often. In fact, I may relocate there for retirement some day. That being said, I think it is important to keep up with the standards that we have in our country to ensure that people are safe.

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    I have travelled to mexico for some time and enjoy the country greatly. I also feel that the food there has been top notch. one of the reasons that I travel back so often. In fact, I may relocate there for retirement some day. That being said, I think it is important to keep up with the standards that we have in our country to ensure that people are safe.

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    January 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Cooperation between countries is always a good thing and Food Safety is a very serious issues since many diseases are triggered by what we eat.

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