As the food supply becomes increasingly global, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s partnerships with our regulatory counterparts and food producers in other nations are more important than ever. The work that the FDA has done in collaboration with the government and food industry in Mexico shows how much we can accomplish for the good of all our consumers when we work together.
The FDA and the agencies responsible for food safety regulation in Mexico – the Federal Commission for the Protection from Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) and the National Service of Agro-Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) – have a long history of working together. There’s good reason for that – FDA data shows that about one-third of all agency-regulated human food imported into the U.S. is from Mexico, including 60% of our fresh produce imports. Thanks to the collaboration between our two countries, we have made strides in areas such as inspections, outbreak response and food safety training.
FDA offices also work together to successfully implement innovative ways to enhance food safety protection. The Office of Food Policy and Response works with colleagues in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) and the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) to strategically coordinate and advance our partnership with SENASICA and COFEPRIS; and FDA’s Latin America Office (LAO) within the Office of Global Policy and Strategy plays a key role as the direct connection with the Mexican government and food industry. One of LAO’s posts is in Mexico City, and its work encompasses a wide range of food safety strategic initiatives, outbreak response activities, targeted outreach, and technical goals.
Since LAO was established in 2009, the staff there have been paramount in building the FDA’s relationship with our counterparts in COFEPRIS and SENASICA, facilitating successful collaborations on food safety across the food industry. LAO’s successful relationship building, as well as cultural expertise, have been integral in strengthening the mutual trust that is evident in our partnership with Mexico.