Industry advocates of the proposed national marketing agreement have previously said they hope the USDA can make a decision to go ahead with the marketing agreement sometime in the first quarter of 2010.
The USDA also heard comments during a series of hearings on the issue.
United Fresh Produce Association President Tom Stenzel said a concern that surfaced from the meetings is the need for the agreement to reflect regional differences.
âThatâs precisely what we believe USDA needs to do in considering a future marketing agreement, as well as (the Food and Drug Administration) in considering potential produce safety regulations,â Stenzel said in a release to United Fresh members. âNo one can be exempt from food safety requirements, but standards need to be commodity-specific, based on risk, and flexible enough to protect public health across multiple types of farm operations.â