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Food safety forum discusses unprecedented regulations

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RALEIGH -- After a lifetime of living by suggestions, those in the Agriculture and Food industry will soon have to follow mandated safety regulations.

"There is not a regulation that mandates how farmers grow their fresh fruits and vegetables in terms of public health concerns, so this will be the fist time. And it came in to be, because of the food safety modernization act, when that was signed into law," said FDA Senior Policy Analyst Leanne Skelton.

The pending FDA rules were the main topic of this year's Food Safety Forum as farmers, suppliers, and distributors met with experts, asking questions and raising concerns.

"Our food supply grows in the dirt, it's outside and microbes are everywhere. So it's all about minimizing risks and doing the best we can," said Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler.

Regulators hope the rules will help eliminate recalls and contaminated goods. But they will no doubt place new burdens on those who produce the products.

"Good agriculture practices are not only a challenge but an economic barrier to production. So we've got to make sure we analyze the different ways we can meet the good agriculture practices so we can meet the goal of having fresh, good safe produce for our customers," said Lu Mil Vineyard President Ron Taylor.

And while the food safety regulations haven't yet been released, when they are, they're sure to affect everyone from the supplier to the consumer.

"Whether you're part of the farming community, maybe you own a packing house, maybe you import product, certainly we all eat food," Skelton said.

The federal food safety regulations are expected to be released later this year. Anyone interested in making comments or suggestions will be able to do so online, before the rules take affect.

Big changes regulators hope make a big difference in the products we all eat. ClientIP: UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP