On September 13, at the third annual executive meeting of the Food Safety Partnership (FSP) between the U.S. and Mexico, federal regulatory agencies from both countries reported continued progress in strengthening food safety.

FSP was formed because approximately one third of all U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -regulated human food imported into the U.S. is from Mexico, including 60 percent of fresh produce imports. The partnership includes FDA, Mexico’s National Service of Agro-Alimentary Public Health Safety and Quality (SENASICA), and the Federal Commission for the Protection from Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS). Leadership from the three agencies participated in the meetings.

The annual meeting focused on laboratory collaboration, food safety training and outreach to industry, and outbreak prevention and response. Accomplishments acknowledged during the meeting included progress to validate a new methodology capable of detecting the presence of Cyclospora cayetanensis and expanded use of whole genome sequencing (WGS). Additionally, in response to a 2022 onion outbreak, SENASICA and COFEPRIS visited a total of 60 onion farms and packinghouses to learn about industry’s production practices and address any food safety knowledge gaps.

During the meeting, FDA officials also called for continued collaboration with industry to ensure a safe food supply for all consumers. For example, FDA, SENASICA, and COFEPRIS have collaborated to provide training on FDA’s Produce Safety Rule to over 500 growers, two food safety workshops reaching 100 onion producers, a Produce Safety Summit for 200 producers, and an On Farm Readiness Review for over 25 growers.

A day prior to the FSP annual meeting, FDA, SENASICA, and COFEPRIS hosted a meeting with industry to discuss two FDA regulations: the Food Traceability Final Rule, the compliance date for which is January 20, 2026, and the proposed Agricultural Water Rule, which FDA expects to finalize in early 2024. As the compliance date for the Food Traceability Rule approaches, FDA is supporting Mexican farmers, producers, and manufacturers through collaborative industry outreach and education.

Next steps in FSP include continued discussions to better understand Mexico’s food safety supply chain controls, continued outreach and training for producers, and collaboration for hepatitis A testing, especially in the event of a possible outbreak. The agencies will also be discussing a process to guide rapid communication and reciprocal information exchange when adverse weather events occur that may have an impact on food safety.  Such information exchange would allow both countries to consider prevention measures to reduce food safety risks and better protect consumers on both sides of the border.