- Chile, once the world's top producer of raspberries, is trying to regain that top spot. The nation once produced 60,000 tons of raspberries per year. Now, volume is down to 35,000 to 40,000 tons annually.
- A national effort is underway to get the nation's raspberry producers — mostly small farmers — to produce more and increase food safety efforts.
- Some producers think the stringent food safety guidelines set down by the Food Safety Modernization Act in the United States will be more beneficial to jumpstart safe production.
In 2015, Chile was the 13th largest source of agricultural products imported into the United States. About $1.6 billion worth of fresh fruit, and $96 million of fruit and vegetable juices, which is what much of the raspberry export becomes, came into the country, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
FSMA, which starts to go into effect later this month, has strict rules governing food safety for domestic and foreign manufacturers. The rules are especially complex for imports, requiring new safety documentation for all suppliers of food coming into the United States. Rules for produce include safety requirements for water quality, employee health and hygiene, and use of equipment.
Complying with all of the FSMA rules may create challenges, but it also will set a level playing field with produce safety. Fruit can carry deadly illnesses, as demonstrated by a hepatitis A outbreak from contaminated frozen strawberries imported from Egypt that has sickened at least 44 people. Knowing that these safety standards are going to be important for the United States import market, training Chilean producers in FSMA rules could do as much to help the market rebound as increasing yields.