SAN DIEGO — It was a good plan, but Washington, D.C., got in the way.

The idea was for Mike Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods for the Food and Drug Administration to talk about the new food safety regulations set forth in the Food Safety Modernization Act when he addressed the United Fresh Produce Association’s winter meeting Jan. 25 in San Diego.

FDA's Taylor: Rules must be done rightJan. 4 was the date the rules were supposed to be released.

“January 4 was the due date, and we haven’t met that, but we will in the very near future,” Taylor said.

“We want it all to come out at the same time,” he said of the various regulations in the FSMA. “They work together as a whole.”

Taylor said it’s important that the rules be done right even if it takes more time. After the rules come out, and there are public meetings, he said FDA and food industry associations and leaders will have to educate their members and then consumers.

After all that, FDA plans to play a minimal role in FSMA compliance.

“We can’t inspect our way to food safety,” Taylor said. “If we don’t work together, I don’t think we will succeed.”

Taylor’s address was part of United Fresh’s winter leadership meetings, Jan. 23-25. The meetings started with a celebration of recently retired Kroger executive and United Fresh chairman Reggie Griffin. Also, various councils, task forces and boards met, as well as the United Fresh Board of Directors meeting.

Those meetings were closed to the public and media.