The U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced a new protocol for the development and registration of antimicrobial treatments for pre-harvest agricultural water, which was developed through a collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The announcement was made during a webinar on FDA’s 2020 Leafy Green STEC Action Plan.
Agricultural water can be a major conduit of pathogens that can contaminate produce. FDA recognizes that effective treatments could be a valuable tool in helping prevent foodborne illness associated with the consumption of produce. However, there are currently no registered antimicrobial treatment products that are authorized to control microorganisms of public health significance for use on agricultural fields or for treatment of irrigation water systems or ponds.
A testing protocol, which is intended to help companies develop data on the effectiveness of their products in inactivating pathogens, such as Escherichia coli or salmonella, in pre-harvest agricultural water, was developed through a collaboration between scientists with FDA’s Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition and subject matter experts at EPA.
EPA’s approval of this protocol means that companies may use the data developed as a result of the protocol to support the registration of new treatment products or amendments to current product labels for use against foodborne pathogens in pre-harvest agricultural water.