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News: New Tools in the Fight for Food Safety

In April, in direct response to FSMA requirements, the FDA launched an easier-to-use version of its food recall search engine. Under the new law, the FDA was required to create a more consumer-friendly version of the food recall search site within 90 days. The new version provides recall information organized by date and presented in table format going back to 2009, and includes product brand name, product description, reason for the recall, and the recalling firm, as well as whether the recall is ongoing...

News: Key Points of FSMA

The FDA has been given the authority to issue a food recall directly, without the requirement for hard evidence of contamination. The agency is now empowered to seize food that it has any reason to believe is contaminated, adulterated, or misbranded. This change was designed to focus the FDA on prevention, moving away from its current reactive role. If the FDA issues a food recall, it also has power to suspend any food facility’s production should the agency decide that there is an associated health...

News: Nuts and Bolts of FSMA

Because a breakdown at any point in the farm-to-table food supply chain can threaten the health and safety of consumers and cause serious financial repercussions for food manufacturers, the FSMA integrates with and expands the FDA’s currently established safety practices for poultry, seafood, juice, produce, and eggs, making prevention easier throughout the domestic and international food system.

News: Bumpy Path to Food Safety

Under FSMA, enacted in January 2011, the FDA is responsible for mitigating food safety problems by using science- and risk-based approaches to oversee about 80% of the nation’s domestic and imported food supplies. The plan includes establishing minimum produce safety standards, exercising the authority to order mandatory recalls of suspected food products, conducting a broad range of food facility inspections, establishing a comprehensive product tracing system, holding imported food products to the...

Columns: Are We Almost There?

With the passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been tasked to create approximately 50 rules, guidance documents, reports, and studies—all of which all must be implemented within very specific time frames.

Departments: Get a Handle on Allergens

More than 160 foods can cause allergic reactions, and it is estimated that 5 million to 12 million Americans suffer from food allergies. This corresponds to 4% to 8% of children and 1% to 3% of adults. An allergic reaction to food occurs when a person’s immune system attacks a food substance, usually a protein. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 30,000 emergency room visits, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 150 deaths occur from food-related anaphylaxis annually.1 At present there...

Features: A Recipe for Hand Hygiene Process Control

Process control drives almost all food safety measures, with the exception of handwashing and hand hygiene. These remain a frontier without meaningful, measureable, and manageable standards.

Features: Eye on China

Glow-in-the-dark pork. Exploding watermelons. These recent oddities from China might seem comical were it not for the country’s abysmal food safety record, which includes deaths and illnesses caused by melamine-laced baby formula, Salmonella-tainted seafood, and clenbuterol-treated pork.

Departments: The 100% Solution to Worker Testing

Employee training has always posed challenges for food companies. Consider language, for example. English may be a second language for many employees, which raises the issue of worker comprehension. Do employees really understand the concepts and procedures being taught, particularly the importance of product safety?

Columns: FSMA Takes Shape

In less than 12 months from now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will begin requiring regulated food companies to demonstrate that they have adopted and implemented written food safety plans, with defined preventive controls designed to reduce or prevent food safety hazards.

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June/July 2014

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