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Features: FDA May Modify Rule on Arsenic in Juice
In the wake of a Consumer Reports study that found levels of arsenic that exceeded the federal standards for bottled water (10 parts per billion, or ppb) in about 10% of sampled apple and grape juices, the FDA has said it will consider tightening its restrictions on arsenic levels in juice.
Departments: The Highest Calling
Over the past 100 years, the ways in which our food is produced, distributed, and regulated have changed dramatically. We have witnessed the maturation of our nation and the industry that keeps it fed. And, today, the concept of food safety is at the forefront of our national discourse. To ensure success in the future, we must be committed to learning from each of the significant—and lasting—lessons learned from our past.
For a long time, the food and beverage industry has relied on manual processes and a paper-based system. The introduction of FSMA has introduced the need for greater scrutiny of data, however. Regulation and legislation are pressing companies to use a secure electronic data environment, increasing the need for laboratory information management systems. Many food and beverage companies are wary of this change due to potentially high costs; however, the cost of an electronic management system can generally...
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.
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...
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.