Nov 9, 2020
University of California seeks survey input on uses of specialty Asian produce

Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, Ph.D., Small Farms and Specialty Crops Farm Advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension in Fresno and Tularie Counties is conducting a national survey of growers and consumers of specialty Asian produce.

The purpose is to identify which types of specialty Asian produce are almost always cooked before eating, so that Southeast Asian and other small-scale farmers can receive exemptions from federal food safety regulations for low-risk crops. She would appreciate your help by both taking the survey and also sharing it widely with consumers of these crops, so she can gather data to provide to the FDA on whether they are eaten cooked or raw.

Click here to take the survey and enter to win a $50 gift card

Food safety regulations have exemptions for produce that is usually cooked instead of eaten raw, because the risk to consumers from human pathogens is much lower. Crops like potatoes, pumpkins, or lima beans that are almost always cooked before eating have a much lower risk than leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach that are frequently eaten raw.

The FDA’s current list of “rarely consumed raw” produce does not include many types of produce that are culturally important to diverse communities of consumers across the US, because the FDA does not have data on how they are eaten. Because these crops are not on the list, small-scale farmers growing specialty produce cannot receive the exemptions that mainstream crops do, even if their crops are never eaten raw.

We now have an opportunity to submit data to the FDA on additional crops that usually are cooked, pickled, or fermented to kill any disease organisms before eating. Data will be shared with the FDA to recommend additional culturally important crops to be added to the “rarely consumed raw” list, so that these crops can receive the same exemptions as mainstream “rarely consumed raw” crops under the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Please help us contribute to making federal food safety regulations more inclusive of diverse communities of farmers and consumers. Click here or on the link above to take the 15-minute survey, and please share widely with any individuals or organizations who might be interested.

As a thank you for completing the survey, respondents can enter a drawing to receive one of ten $50 gift cards.

If you have questions about the survey, you may contact Dr. Dahlquist-Willard at:

Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, Ph.D.
Small Farms and Specialty Crops Farm Advisor
University of California Cooperative Extension, Fresno and Tulare Counties

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