Tag Archives food safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has "launched a challenge to spur the development of affordable, tech-enabled traceability tools to help protect people and animals from contaminated foods by enabling the rapid identification of their sources and helping remove them from the marketplace as quickly as possible." The agency has asked "food technology solution providers, public health advocates, entrepreneurs and innovators across the human and animal food supply chain to present food traceability solutions that utilize economic models that are affordable, with costs that are proportional to the benefits received and can scale to encourage widespread adoption." FDA will accept submissions until July 30, 2021, and will select up to 12 winners for the challenge. Winners "will have the opportunity to present their work publicly in a webinar planned for September and their videos will be posted for public viewing."

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued guidance with information advising food business operators on what information should be included on frozen food packaging. The guidance suggests when additional food-safety information should be included, such as a note to only thaw the necessary amount of food and to break up large pieces that have been frozen together inside the package. EFSA also notes that some products will have different shelf-life limits after the packaging has been opened because new pathogens could have been introduced. "From a food safety point of view, freezing prevents the growth of pathogens. However, even though the concentration of pathogens may decrease over time, elimination is usually not complete during the freezing period depending on the pathogen and initial concentrations, the duration of the frozen storage and conditions during freezing/thawing. Pathogenic microorganisms that survive frozen storage can recover during thawing and may grow and/or produce…

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization has released a report examining potential challenges in the production of food developed from edible insects. "The farming of insects for food and feed is relatively recent and brings with it both benefits and challenges, some of which this publication explores," the report states. "The regulatory frameworks that govern edible insects in various regions are discussed. In addition, the document highlights some of the other challenges, such as research gaps and scaling up production, that the insect sector will need to overcome if it is to have a more global reach." In addition to consideration of allergenicity of insects, the document covers "some of the major food safety hazards that should be considered, including biological agents (bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic) as well as chemical contaminants (pesticides, toxic metals, flame retardants). Safe and successful insect production must include efforts to prevent, detect, identify and…

By Associate Anna El-Zein & Of Counsel John Johnson III Recent actions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggest that, in 2021, the Agency will sharpen its focus on enforcement efforts to ensure packaged foods appropriately declare the presence of major food allergens. In a series of high-profile warning letters and press releases, FDA confirmed that it is moving beyond expecting non-compliant food to be recalled and is concentrating on how companies are preventing the issue. Manufacturers and private labelers need to audit their practices and expect an FDA inspection, especially if they have had an allergen-related recall. What the Law Requires The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) deems a packaged food misbranded if the label fails to declare the presence of a major allergen, either in the ingredient list or in a “contains” statement. This requirement and the list of major food allergens is found…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a voluntary pilot program that will assess third-party food safety audit standards for the Preventive Controls for Human Food and Produce Safety requirements set forth under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The agency also released a guidance document with further information about the program. "We are launching this pilot program because we expect that FDA alignment determinations would create efficiencies for industry if they have confidence that the third-party standards used to audit their suppliers adequately consider the FDA’s food safety requirements," the announcement states. "Similarly, we expect that it would be helpful for FDA investigators to know that the standards used to audit a supplier were aligned with FDA regulations. This could help investigators more efficiently determine whether importers and receiving facilities are in compliance with the FSMA supply-chain verification requirements for audits."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a proposed update to traceability recordkeeping requirements for foods considered "high risk" as sources of foodborne illness. The proposed rule would apply to entities that manufacture, process, pack or hold foods on the Food Traceability List and would require companies to "establish and maintain records containing information on critical tracking events in the supply chain for these designated foods, such as growing, shipping, receiving, creating, and transforming the foods." The rule reflects the terms of a settlement FDA reached with the Center for Food Safety in a lawsuit intended to compel the agency to meet requirements set forth in the Food Safety Modernization Act. "The availability of the traceability records that are set out in the proposed rule would also help limit the scope of recalls and in some instances, allow the FDA to better target consumer advice, avoiding blanket alerts…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced a virtual public meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) on September 24-25, 2020. The objectives are "for the Committee to review and advise about the steps FSIS should take to ensure better control of artisanal, shelf-stable ready-to-eat (RTE) fermented, salt-cured, or dried products that rely on multiple hurdles for lethality" and to "review and advise whether the Agency should continue not to test boxed beef primal and sub-primal products for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), if they are intended for intact cuts." USDA also announced the appointment of 10 new members to NACMPI, as well as an additional member to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a call for experts to join the Technical Advisory Group on Food Safety: Safer Food for Better Health, which "will serve as an advisory body to WHO through providing technical guidance and inputs to support WHO's efforts and work in food safety by analyzing the current and future challenges in agri-food supply chains, advising innovative solutions and approaches with greatest public health benefits. Eventually, the aim is to strengthen national food safety systems and lower the burden of foodborne illnesses." The organization is taking online applications until August 21, 2020.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it will resume domestic inspections of regulated facilities during the week of July 20, 2020, after pausing in March due to COVID-19. "To arm our investigators with the most reliable and accurate information, the FDA has developed a rating system to assist us in determining when and where it is safest to conduct prioritized domestic inspections," the agency states. "The COVID-19 Advisory Rating system (COVID-19 Advisory Level) uses real-time data to qualitatively assess the number of COVID-19 cases in a local area based on state and national data. We are also making the Advisory Level data available to our state partners who carry out inspections of FDA-regulated entities on the agency’s behalf under contract." The agency also announced that the inspections will be pre-announced. "The FDA has also determined that, for the foreseeable future, prioritized domestic inspections will be pre-announced…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a blueprint of plans to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act and a hub for the New Era of Smarter Food Safety. The blueprint focuses on four elements: (i) tech-enabled traceability; (ii) smarter tools and approaches for prevention and outbreak response; (iii) new business models and retail modernization; and (iv) food safety culture. "This document represents the thinking of FDA food safety experts, consumers, the food industry, technology firms, federal and state regulatory partners, our regulatory counterparts in other nations, and academia," the blueprint states. "Together, we envision a framework that will enable food to be traced to its source in seconds and will utilize new data analytical techniques to strengthen prevention of foodborne illnesses, alerting consumers in real time before contaminated or misbranded foods are consumed. We envision a framework in which education, communication, and democratization of data will enable…

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