Tag Archives food safety

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued instructions for inspection program personnel (IPP) to follow “when verifying that large official establishments (with 500 or more employees) that produce meat and poultry products have prepared and are maintaining required written recall procedures.” According to FSIS, the notice complies with a May 8, 2012, final rule outlining requirements for notifying the agency of adulterated or misbranded products and maintaining written recall procedures. It also calls on IPP to remind large establishments “of the availability of food defense plan guidance because food defense plans also facilitate the removal of adulterated products from commerce.” Although food defense plans are currently voluntary, FSIS has stressed that their purpose is to help meat and poultry companies “respond to intentional contamination of products” and may be used with other recall systems. Written recall procedures, however, must “specify how the official establishment…

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a November 7-8, 2012, public workshop at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater “to provide information about food defense as it relates to food facilities such as farms, manufacturers, processors, distributors, retailers and restaurants.” Intended to help businesses better comply with the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Act of 2002, the workshop will cover the following topics: (i) “Food defense awareness and definitions”; (ii) “FDA food defense tools such as ALERT and Employees FIRST”; (iii) “Regulations mandated by the Bioterrorism Act”; (iv) “Food Defense Guidance from the Food Safety and Inspection Service”; (v) “Investigating food-related incidents effectively”; (vi) “Physical plant security”; and (vii) “Crisis management.” FDA has asked interested parties to register by October 31, 2012. See Federal Register, September 27, 2012.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a draft food inspection model as part of its Inspection Modernization: Optimizing Confidence in Food Safety plan. According to CFIA, the modernized approach to food inspection will apply to both imported and domestic commodities and, in addition to the inspection model, rely on modern science, improved data collection and better training and tools for CFIA inspectors. The new draft model apparently favors a risk-based approach to regulatory oversight and covers the following components: (i) licensing and registration, (ii) CFIA oversight, (iii) inspection, (iv) compliance and enforcement, and (v) system performance. In particular, food and beverage manufacturers would need to develop “preventative control plans scalable to the size and complexity of their operation” that “mitigate all sources of food safety risk and demonstrate that the measures effectively meet regulatory requirements.” CFIA would in turn determine the level of required oversight—enhanced, normal or reduced—based…

At the European Commission’s request, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a scientific statement on the safety of food products derived from animal clones. In its June 2012 statement, EFSA reaffirms its earlier statements and opinions, noting that no new information has changed its conclusion that meat and milk from healthy cattle and pig clones and their offspring are no different “compared with those from healthy conventionally bred animals.” EFSA also finds no evidence that cloning farmed animals poses any particular threats to genetic diversity or biodiversity. Still, the scientific statement underlines that animal health and welfare “were compromised in a proportion of clones, mainly observed as increased mortality within the postnatal and juvenile period of calve and piglet clones, as well as in a proportion of the surrogate dams that were affected by abnormal pregnancies.” See EFSA News Release, July 5, 2012.

The Food Chain Workers Alliance has issued a report claiming that most U.S. workers across the food sector—from production, processing, distribution, retail, and service—earn low wages with few health benefits, a situation that can pose safety risks to both employees and the public. Titled “The Hands That Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain,” the 92-page report based its findings on nearly 700 surveys and interviews with employers and workers in the sector, which employs 20 million people and comprises one-sixth of the country’s workforce. Among the report’s findings of workers surveyed: (i) more than 86 percent reported earning low or poverty wages, (ii) 79 percent said they either do not have a single paid sick day or do not know if they do, (iii) 83 percent do not receive health insurance from their employers, (iv) 53 percent admitted to working while sick, (v) 57 percent…

The Canadian government has issued a discussion document outlining a plan for a “stronger, more comprehensive inspection approach to further strengthen food safety.” Titled “Improved Food Inspection Model: The Case for Change,” the plan represents the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA’s) latest effort to keep up with a changing global “food landscape.” Last year, CFIA was allocated $100 million over a five-year period to modernize Canada’s food safety inspections. According to CFIA, the agency operates eight separate food inspection programs for dairy, eggs, fish and seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, imported and manufactured food, maple, meat, and processed products that include honey. “Having eight food programs has resulted in the development and use of different risk management frameworks, inspection methods, and compliance verification and enforcement approaches,” the document states. “This challenges the CFIA to manage risks consistently across different types of establishments and different foods.” CFIA’s plan includes providing more…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a notice requiring inspectors to make establishments aware of how to comply with a May 8, 2012, final rule on misbranded meat and poultry. The rule requires establishments to prepare and maintain recall procedures, notify FSIS within 24 hours when adulterated or misbranded meat and poultry products that could harm consumers have entered the marketplace and document their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system food safety plans. The final rule was discussed in Issue 439 of this Update.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has proposed new traceback measures to better control and prevent pathogens from triggering foodborne illnesses and outbreaks. Particularly concerned with meat contaminated with Escherichia coli (E. coli), FSIS plans to “move quickly to identify the supplier of the product and any processors who received contaminated product from the supplier, once confirmation is received.” FSIS, which has provided industry guidelines on the matter, requests comments by July 6, 2012. See FSIS Press Release, May 2, 2012; Federal Register, May 7, 2012. FSIS has also issued a proposed rule that would remove the food preservatives sodium benzoate, sodium propionate and benzoic acid from a list of substances prohibited for use in meat or poultry products. Under the proposal, the Food and Drug Administration would continue to approve new safety uses of these substances in meat or poultry products while FSIS would approve them for…

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has proposed amendments to its federal meat inspection rules to better align them with the regulations and policies of major trading partners such as the United States and the European Union. According to CFIA, the plan updates a 1990 rule but does not lower food safety standards. Instead, among other things, it would “repeal certain redundant requirements” to make it easier for small- to medium-sized slaughterhouses and meat-processing plants to achieve federal registration so that they could expand trade opportunities both in and outside Canada. Under current law, Canadian plants that are provincially registered cannot sell or export their meat products outside their home province unless they are also federally registered. According to CFIA, 730 establishments are federally registered and approximately 4,000 are not, most notably because “becoming federally registered is expensive, with costs varying greatly from establishment to establishment in relation to the volume…

University of Turin Law Professor Margherita Poto explores the food safety laws in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong to set the stage for discussing how their regulatory systems may be sufficiently advanced to address the potential challenges posed by the use of nanotechnology in the food sciences. Her article appears in a special edition of the European Journal of Law & Technology devoted to nanotechnology issues. According to Poto, existing risk analysis rules, registration and traceability requirements and premarket approval should adequately ensure the safety of “nano-foods.” She contends, “Mainland China and Hong Kong are seriously committed to strengthen their regulatory framework in order to protect consumers from unsafe food and this commitment can involve the field of nano-foods, as an integrant part of the novel foods regulation. The regulatory framework may allow PRC, as well as Western countries, to reach…

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