The Food and Drug Administration is building up its produce safety working relationship with Mexico.

The agency said in mid-October that its recent FDA-Mexico Produce Safety Partnership should improve the safety of fruits and vegetable on both sides of the border.

The agreement, signed by FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg in late July, focuses on preventive practices and verification measures for the production of safe produce, including:

  •  Exchanging information to better understand each other’s produce safety systems;
  • Developing effective culturally-specific education and outreach materials that support industry compliance with produce safety standards;
  • Identifying common approaches for training auditors who will verify compliance with such standards; and
  • Enhancing collaboration on laboratory activities as well as outbreak response and traceback activities.

The FDA established a regional Latin American office in Mexico City in 2010, and Bruce Ross, the agency’s deputy regional director of that office, said that communication is key.

“Our goal right now is to make sure the Mexican authorities are aware of changes implemented under (the Food Safety Modernization Act) and that we are aware of their food safety law amendments,” he said in the release. “Our presence in Mexico enables us to talk regularly and frequently with our counterparts and stakeholders about key issues related to the products FDA regulates.”