Tag Archives food safety

With more than 54,000 Chinese children sickened by the melamine contamination of milk and infant formula products in recent months and the government stalling over compensation of their families, some 15 lawyers have reportedly decided to file the claims of nearly 100 families in a single lawsuit against the Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co. The lawyers have not apparently set a date for its filing and intend to hold discussions with the dairy company at the heart of the alleged scandal. According to a news source, they are hoping to force a settlement by grouping a large number of claims. China’s government has ordered hospitals to order free treatment for the sick infants, but not all costs have been covered, and at least a dozen individual cases have already been filed. These suits are in a “legal limbo” because the courts have neither accepted nor refused them. See Associated Press, November…

The Chinese government has reportedly arrested the owner of a poultry feed operation implicated in a nationwide scandal involving melamine-tainted animal products. The manufacturer apparently confessed to using the industrial chemical in 212 tons of chicken feed sold to Dalian Hanovo Enterprise Group, which then distributed adulterated eggs to Chinese consumers. The government also destroyed an additional 75 tons of contaminated feed seized from the owner as part of its crackdown on the widespread practice of adding melamine to feed and dairy products to artificially boost protein counts. State media sources have indicated that inspectors have shuttered 238 illegal farms and 130 dairy farms since melamine-laden infant formula first sickened thousands of children. The scandal has closed approximately 20 percent of China’s dairy industry. See What Not To Eat: Marion Nestle, November 12, 2008. Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has apparently issued a detention order for milk-containing products imported…

FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) will conduct a roundtable discussion with stakeholders on December 12, 2008, and is tentatively scheduled to “communicate FDA’s nutrition activities” and provide status updates on functional foods, health claims, evidence-based review guides, Critical Path Project on Biomarkers for Use in Health Claims, front-of-pack labeling, and sodium status, among other matters. According to CFSAN, the format will consist of a panel of experts led by the agency’s director, with remarks from David Acheson, FDA Associate Commissioner, and a question and answer session. See CFSAN Constituent Update, November 7, 2008.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, American National Standards Institute and other organizations are co-sponsoring a conference titled “Bolstering Consumer Confidence: Identifying Essential Third Party Food Safety Audit Criteria,” December 2-3, 2008, in Washington, D.C. Among the conference speakers is the administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), who will discuss “his agency’s perspective on third party audits and the issue of country equivalency.” Other sessions will address Food and Drug Administration requirements for a comprehensive third party audit, harmonizing the global food safety system, and World Trade Organization concerns about private standards and third-party certification.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have announced a November 4, 2008, public meeting to consider agenda items coming before the 17th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS). Slated for November 24-28 in Cebu, Philippines, the Codex session will address (i) the proposed draft “Principles and Guidelines for the Conduct of Foreign On-Site Audits and Inspections;” (ii) the proposed draft “General Model Health Certificate;” and (iii) the annex to the “Guidelines for Design, Production, Insurance and Use of Generic Official Certificates.” In addition, the committee will discuss “the need for guidance for national food inspection systems, the need for further guidance on traceability and product tracing, and the development of guidance on the prevention of international contamination of food,” according to USDA. Codex was formed in 1963 by the United Nations, the Food and…

According to news sources, the United Nations released a report October 22, 2008, calling on China to overhaul its system of food-safety regulation. The World Health Organization’s top food-safety official claimed that the country’s recent tainted-milk scandal was a result of individuals who “exploited weaknesses” in the regulatory system, which is “dispersed” among too many agencies and governmental levels. The U.N. urged the government to streamline its laws, make them tougher and regulate food products from farm to fork. A local spokesperson said that the U.N. stood ready to work closely with Chinese officials on reforming the law. The report apparently urges the Chinese government to shift more responsibility to food companies by requiring them to institute risk-management programs that can be audited by government inspectors. Released just as the standing committee of the National People’s Congress was preparing to discuss the draft of a new food-safety law that will,…

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