The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a request for comments and scientific data “that would assist the agency in its plans to conduct a risk profile for pathogens and filth in spices.” FDA has requested input on specific hazards, including “microbiological pathogens and filth in spices that are identified and published in literature, outbreaks, recalls, and submissions to the Reportable Food Registry.” The agency seeks data related to incidences of contamination; factors that influence the survival, growth and levels of pathogens; spice consumption patterns in the United States; intended use; manufacturing practices; the effectiveness of control measures for pathogens; and supplier requirements for microbial testing and audit programs.

Designed to assist FDA in its regulatory decision making, the spice risk profile aims to describe the nature and extent of the public health risk, evaluate mitigation processes, and identify additional control options, further research needs and data gaps. It will also assess what is known about (i) the frequency and levels of spice contamination; (ii) differences in production and contamination of imported and domestic spices; and (iii) the effectiveness, cost and practicality of currently available and potential intervention strategies. FDA will accept electronic or written comments and data submissions before June 21, 2010. See Federal Register, April 20, 2010.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.