updated 10/6/2009 3:31:58 PM ET 2009-10-06T19:31:58

Two federal agencies are teaming up to write new food safety rules for fresh produce, following foodborne illness outbreaks tied to fruits and vegetables in recent years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday its fresh produce chief Leanne Skelton will work with the Food and Drug Administration to develop new produce regulations over the next six months.

As part of the process, officials will travel the country to talk with food safety officials and farmers — including small, organic growers — about the impact new rules would have on the industry.

The effort will build on guidance the FDA proposed in July to improve the safety of tomatoes, leafy greens and melons.

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