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Arnoldo de Jesús Moreno, Local Phytosanitary Board, Mexico
"SENASICA certification requirements are very similar to those of Global GAP"
Institutions have been created in the Mexican state of Michoacan to provide technical advice to avocado producers in order to help them comply with international food safety and phytosanitary standards. One of these is the Local Phytosanitary Board of the municipality of Salvador Escalante.
This Local Board is integrated only by avocado producers, since it is the main crop of the area, but in Mexico there are many other boards dedicated to various agricultural sectors. Arnoldo de Jesús Moreno, safety coordinator, explains that in the municipality of Salvador Escalante "there are about 2,500 producers and about 14,000 hectares in production meeting the standards for export, of which almost 9,500 have a SRRC certification from the SENASICA, making it one of the most important places in this regard nationwide. In fact, a lot of resources have been invested to allow producers to comply with international regulations in the field of Agricultural Safety.
Moreno explains that a team of professionals is responsible for providing advice to help comply with the certification standards set by the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) through the National Agro-food Health, Safety and Quality Service (SENASICA), specifically when it comes to the Pollution Risk Reduction Systems (SRRC), i.e. the Agro-Food Safety certification. This in turn highlights the effort and commitment of the producers of the municipality to the enforcement of good agricultural practices. He also expects the SRRC, developed by the government through the SENASICA, to be accepted in other countries as a reliable system.
Moreno explains that "since no resources are provided by the government, the producers contribute their own money through our Board, so that specialised technicians can advise them in the field. The certification from SENASICA greatly helps the producers, especially when exporting to the US, our main trading partner, since their government has recently introduced new regulations, such as the FSMA, and therefore this certification helps to comply with part of the requirements, because not only is it important to offer quality fruit in the international market, but also a clean and pathogen free fruit."
According to Moreno, "the certification has many requirements that are similar to those of Global GAP, with the latter being in the GFSI system. In fact, the Mexican government seeks for the certification provided by SENASICA to be internationally recognised by the Global Initiative for food safety." He also clarifies that "this does not mean that producers won't have to comply with international standards, but rather that there will be an additional element of safety. It is a government-issued certification, and that would help producers in the event of any fruit contamination problems at international level, as commercial certifications don't address those issues."
To conclude, Moreno wished to highlight the commitment of the Local Boards and government agencies with Mexican avocado producers, as well as with the quality, purity and safety of their products. He also stated that being certified under any scheme does not mean you'll be free from the possibility of facing contamination problems; it is essential to work daily with the staff at the orchards and focus on safety, looking at it not as a requirement, but as part of the culture, since consumers in our country and around the world should be supplied with avocados that are safe for consumption.
For more information:
Eng. Arnoldo de Jesús Moreno Avila
Coordinador de Inocuidad Agrícola
Salvador Escalante, Michoacan, Mexico
T: 452 54 54 314
Publication date: 8/22/2017
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