Center for Food Safety & Regulatory Solutions: US Food Safety Modernization Act – Impact on the food industry

eFOODLab_International_03_2014

Center for Food Safety & Regulatory Solutions (CFSRS) 3/14 eFOOD-Lab international 15 US Food Safety Modernization Act – Impacts on non-US Food Processors Our Author: Allen R. Sayler, Managing Partner CFSRS “What is Happening in the US and when will the Food Safety Law Changes take Effect and cause problems for companies exporting Food to the US?” Company senior managers, food plant managers and supervisors as well as export/import brokers are puzzled and confused regarding the US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that was signed into law by President Obama in January 2011. It was celebrated by consumer advocacy groups as finally providing the US Food & Drug Administration (US FDA) with enough authority and regulatory “tools” to regulate all food processors in a “preventive” versus a “reactive” way. To add to the uncertainty, on Friday September 19th, 2014 US FDA published four (4) “Supplementals” to four (4) of the seven (7) proposed FSMA regulations. In order to understand the strong pressures to improve food safety in the US, it is helpful to look at some information that is widely available through government and private sources which provides insight into whether the safety of food in the US is improving, stagnant or actually declining. Just prior to the passage of FSMA by the US Congress, the US experienced two (2) consecutive years (2009 & 2010) with food recalls setting new records. In one case which has been in the news this last week, Peanut Corporation of America’s corporate and plant management were convicted of a number of felony offenses related to food safety violations and some will likely go to prison. This history back in 2009 and 2010 drove a strong belief by some in the US that if US FDA has more power and authority over the food processing industry, these back-to-back record years of recalls would not have happened. One measure of the safety of the US food supply is the last four (4) years of data from FDA’s “Reportable Food Registry (RFR)” This system requires all US food processors to file an electronic report on the FDA-administered “Reportable Food Registry” within twenty-four (24) hours after the food processor was made aware of the contamination event and the food in question is not in “control” of the food processor. Failure to do so could result in US FDA declaring the food “adulterated” or “misbranded”, which would require the food processor to destroy or in a few cases, reprocess the food. When reviewing the table covering the last four (4) years of the RFR, it is uncertain whether this data indicates that the number of “reportable events” is increasing or is staying the same. From US FDA’s perspective, the US food processing industry has not made noticeable food safety gains in the last four (4) years. Another way to look at this RFR information is to identify what contaminants are the major cause of these reportable events. The four (4) pie charts below identify that the three major contaminants identified by the food processing industry through their own internal food quality and safety programs are salmonella, undeclared allergens and Listeria monocytogenes. Commodities 2010 2011 2012 2013 Bakery 16 20 18 22 Beverages 3 2 1 1 Dairy 18 16 20 10 Dressings/Sauces/Gravies 6 8 5 6 Egg 2 2 2 0 Frozen Foods 9 11 3 10 Fruit/Vegetable Products 12 9 5 3 Nuts/Nut Products/Seeds 16 16 13 15 Oil/Margarine 1 0 0 0 Produce - Fresh Cut 13 9 23 13 Produce – RAC 14 27 33 10 Seafood 17 18 17 19 Spices and Seasonings 17 25 8 12 Total 229 225 224 202 Qualit y Management


eFOODLab_International_03_2014
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