AMS administrator wants to help fill food safety gaps

Tom Karst of The Packer reports that when it comes to produce safety, Elanor Starmer wants the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service to be a big part of the solution.

supermarket_produceStarmer has been the AMS administrator since January, succeeding Anne Alonzo in the post. Previously, she had served as senior advisor to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

While she may have less than a year left in her post before the next administration names a new AMS administrator, Starmer said she is trying to accomplish all she can in the limited time left.

Speaking with The Packer June 21 during the United Fresh Produce Association’s annual conference, Starmer said the USDA-AMS wants to help various sectors of the industry understand how they will be affected by Food Safety Modernization Act regulations.

Starmer said AMS wants to help the industry be aware of USDA resources and tools. For example, research agencies can look at the realities of compliance with the water standards or what the manure standard might look like, she said.

Starmer said the USDA has ongoing work and communication with the FDA to make sure that the USDA’s Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices audits are correctly aligned with FDA regulations. At the same time, the USDA GAP program is being benchmarked with the Global Food Safety Initiative.

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A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time