Tag Archives food safety

The European Commission has proposed changes to directives governing food safety, marketing and distribution. According to an EU news release, the proposal would update the General Food Law, "which dates back from 2002 and thus needs an update," and "will give citizens greater access to information submitted to the European Food Safety Authority [(EFSA)] on approvals concerning the agri-food chain." The EU proposes to create a registry of commissioned studies available to the public and predicts that Member States will be more involved in EFSA's governance structure and scientific panels. The proposal also reportedly targets "dual foods," or foods marketed across the continent but produced and sold with ingredients of reduced quality in some areas. Additional details on the New Deal for Consumers, including proposed rules on collective redress, appear in Shook's Product Liability Bulletin.

An alert appearing on Yelp that discloses San Francisco health inspection scores may “improve the functioning of markets” and help consumers make “better decisions," but critics reportedly say the posted scores illustrate the failures of the city's food-safety inspection system. Two researchers, who authored “Digitizing Disclosures: The Case of Restaurant Hygiene Scores,” previously helped Yelp design the alert boxes, which appear on pages for about five percent of San Francisco restaurants. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the alert boxes reduced Yelp users’ “intention to visit” by 21 percent, despite the intention of the alerts to be a system of accountability rather than a warning of deterrence. The Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) told the Chronicle that the scores are based on routine inspections conducted every six to 18 months. If restaurants earn a low inspection score, they have a week to correct the violations or face closure. “If you see [a low…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released the 2017 edition of the FDA Food Code, a set of model regulations and advice for the reduction of foodborne illnesses, including suggested uniform standards for retail food safety, inspections and audits. The Code includes (i) a requirement for a person in charge of the establishment to be a “Certified Food Protection Manager”; (ii) an added section regarding the use of bandages, finger cots and stalls; (iii) standardized cooking times and temperatures for “intact and non-intact” meat and poultry; and (iv) updated procedures for operation during extended water or electrical outages.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is soliciting public comment on whether the agency should continue to collect information about foodborne illnesses in restaurants. The proposal would extend studies of risk factors, preparation practices, employee behavior and the effects of regulation and food safety management systems on occurrences and outbreaks. FDA began a study of full-service and fast food restaurants in 2013; its current data collection will end in 2018, and the proposed collection would extend to 2022. Public comment will be accepted through April 9, 2018.

From the rise in food allergies to the changing economics of agriculture and animal husbandry, documentary series “Rotten” examines a range of factors that affect the food and beverage industry. Episodes include "Lawyers, Guns & Honey," which explores how foreign honey enters the U.S. market; "Big Bird," which documents the effects of JBS' purchase of Pilgrim's Pride on U.S. poultry farmers; and "Milk Money," which examines the benefits and risks linked to the sale of raw milk. The final episode, "Cod is Dead," details the effects of catch limits on commercial fisheries and reviews the case of Carlos Rafael, the "Codfather." Since the release of "Rotten," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reportedly sought to prevent Rafael and his businesses from reentering the fishing industry after he is released from prison.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed a rule that would require certain shippers, receivers and carriers that transport food by motor or rail vehicles to take steps to prevent the contamination of human and animal food during transportation. Noting that the proposed rule will “help reduce the likelihood of conditions during transportation that can lead to human or animal illness or injury,” FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor said, “We are now one step closer to fully implementing the comprehensive regulatory framework for prevention that will strengthen the FDA’s inspection and compliance tools, modernize oversight of the nation’s food safety system, and prevent foodborne illnesses before they happen.” The proposed regulation aims to establish criteria for sanitary transportation practices, such as properly refrigerating food, adequately cleaning vehicles between loads and properly protecting food during transportation. The agency will accept comments until May 31,…

The Chinese Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has announced a public consultation on a draft regulation, “Provisions on the Administration of the ‘Black List’ System for Food and Drug Safety,” that would give regulators the authority to blacklist companies that violate food safety laws. The regulation would allow information on manufacturers that violate laws and regulations concerning food, drugs, medical appliances, and cosmetics management, and receive administrative penalties, to be made public through government Websites. Producers and operators included on the “blacklist” would apparently face increased regulatory supervision. The draft regulation reportedly also covers food and beverage producers that fail to comply with production license requirements, mislabel products and do not respond appropriately to food safety incident cases. Companies using fallacious, unsubstantiated or misleading marketing would be ordered to suspend production and, in the case of serious breaches of regulations, have their business licenses revoked. Additions to the “blacklist” would…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a request for comments concerning a proposed information collection for a Food Safety Survey. Specifically, the agency seeks comment on the following questions: (i) is the information collection necessary and will it provide practical utility; (ii) is the estimate of the burden of the information collection, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used, accurate; (iii) can the quality, utility and clarity of the information be enhanced; and (iv) how can the burden of the information collection on respondents be minimized. The Food Safety Survey, which the agency notes will contain many of the same questions and topics as previous Food Safety Surveys, will also be updated to explore emerging consumer food safety topics and expand understanding of previously asked topics. New topics to be explored include the increase in listeriosis rates in people older than age 60; consumer understanding of…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a proposal that would require beef products undergoing a mechanical tenderization process be labeled as such and include new cooking instructions to ensure proper handling. According to an agency spokesperson, “Ensuring that consumers have effective tools and information is important in helping them protect their families against foodborne illness.” Some cuts of beef are apparently pierced by needles or sharp blades to break up muscle fibers and increase tenderness. With the possible introduction of pathogens into the interior of such products, FSIS notes that they “may pose a greater threat to public health than intact beef products, if they are not cooked properly.” Public comments will be requested within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register. See FSIS News Release, June 6, 2013.

The European Commission (EC) has introduced a “landmark package to modernize, simplify and strengthen the agri-food chain in Europe” by reducing the number of food and feed regulations from 70 pieces to five. In addition to addressing regulatory enforcement and funding, the proposed package describes new procedures, preventative measures and risk-based controls related to plant and animal health, including plant reproductive materials. Among other things, the recommendations discuss (i) combining animal health regulations under a single piece of legislation focused on preventative efforts, livestock traceability and disease prioritization; (ii) upgrading the plant health regime to increase surveillance of both domestic and imported crops; and (iii) implementing “more simplified and flexible rules for the marketing of seeds and other plant reproductive material… to ensure productivity, adaptability and diversity of Europe’s crop production.” To finance these goals and improve accountability, the new rules would change the way member states fund official controls…

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