Tag Archives food safety

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…

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued “COVID-19 and food safety: guidance for food businesses,” which provides information on the risks of transmission of COVID-19 in the food and beverage industry. “It is highly unlikely that people can contract COVID-19 from food or food packaging,” the guidance states. “Coronaviruses cannot multiply in food; they need an animal or human host to multiply.” Instead, it urges industry to “reinforce personal hygiene measures and provide refresher training on food hygiene principles to eliminate or reduce the risk of food surfaces and food packaging materials becoming contaminated with the virus from food workers.” The guidance provides specifics on hygiene standards, such as open food displays and the use of disposable gloves. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also provided several resources for food and beverage companies, including a list of frequently asked questions. The website features regularly updated questions on a number…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced "A New Era of Smarter Food Safety," a public meeting "to get input from a broad cross-section of stakeholders on a modern approach the Agency is taking to strengthen its protection of the food supply." The meeting, which will be held October 21, 2019, is intended to "foster a dialogue with our domestic and international regulatory and public health partners, industry, consumers, academia, and others," and input will "be used to shape an FDA Blueprint for a New Era of Smarter Food Safety."

U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) have introduced the Food Date Labeling Act, which aims to "end consumer confusion around food date labeling and ensure Americans do not throw out perfectly good food," according to a press release. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate. The proposed law would establish "Best if Used By" to communicate that the quality may decline following the listed date, while "Use By" would communicate that a product should not be consumed after the listed date. "Food labeling is important for consumer education, but the current practice is confusing and outdated. This bill takes a step toward reducing food waste by helping consumers understand the meaning behind date labels," Newhouse is quoted as saying. "The legislation also helps restaurants and grocery stores bridge the gap when it comes to donating food to shelters, food banks and other…

The U.K. National Audit Office has released a report that "examines the effectiveness of the current regulatory arrangements to ensure that food is safe to eat and is what it says it is." The report found that spending on maintaining food safety systems in the country has declined, and some local authorities "are failing to meet statutory objectives to conduct interventions." The agency also purportedly found that the "regulatory system lacks the full range of enforcement powers to ensure businesses supply safe food."

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