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Industry News: FAO Expands Food Security Education, Updated FDA Requirements for Infant Formula, and More
Global Food Traceability Center Strengthens Seafood Industry
The Institute of Food Technologists Global Food Traceability Center has received a grant to conduct research into the impacts of traceability on consumer attitudes and business performance in the seafood industry from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The purpose of the project is to strengthen the performance and proficiency of the seafood industry by providing knowledge about the impact of traceability on reduction of waste, enhancement of consumer trust, and increase of business efficiencies. Additionally, the project will deliver a software application that can be used by stakeholders seeking to better understand their return on investments in traceability solutions.
Improving Cheese Ripening Processes
A new E.U.-research project, SMARTRIPE, aims to bring a number of improvements in cheese ripening technology by adopting sequential ventilation procedures and a new monitoring concept in cheese ripening rooms. The SMARTRIPE project builds on the results of previous FP6 TRUEFOOD project on cheese ripening. These results proved the concept of “sequential ventilation” as a mean to save around 50 percent of energy consumption in ripening rooms, and defined strategies to control cheese mass loss (cheese water evaporation) while preserving cheese quality attributes. This two-year research project funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission aims to develop a new technology for cheese ripening.
FAO Expands Food Security Knowledge
More than 220 universities in Latin America and the Caribbean are joining the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to expand learning opportunities and improve policies for food security. With the support of the European Union, FAO has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean to develop the education program. The initiative will offer a new Master’s program in Food Security, in addition to elearning courses currently offered by FAO. The partnership will target current and potential policymakers in the region. Rollout of the new courses is slated for January 2015.
Updated FDA Requirements for Infant Formula
FDA’s interim final rule amends the FDA’s quality control procedures, notification, and record and reporting requirements for manufacturers of infant formula products. The rule, in part, will ensure that infant formula contains all federally required nutrients. It also establishes cGMPs specifically designed for infant formula, including required testing for microbial contamination. This microbial testing includes testing representative samples of finished products to prevent the distribution of products contaminated with the pathogens Cronobacter and Salmonella. The rule also establishes quality factor requirements to support healthy growth. Applying only to formulas for healthy infants, the rule is accompanied by two draft guidance documents for industry, including one document that addresses the manufacture of formula products made for infants with unusual medical or dietary problems, such as infants who are born extremely premature.
Americans Want More Government Oversight for Food Safety
The Harris Poll of 2,236 adults surveyed online indicates that strong majorities of U.S. adults say food recalls have them at least somewhat concerned (86 percent with 58 percent somewhat concerned and 28 percent seriously concerned) and believe there should be more government oversight in regards to food safety (73 percent). When those who think there have been more food recalls lately are asked who they hold most responsible for this increase, the highest percentage by a dramatic margin place the blame on those responsible for packaging and/or processing food (50 percent), though the federal government (19 percent) and those responsible for growing and/or raising food (16 percent) also received blame.