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On June 8, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a report on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) role in ensuring the safety of the American food supply. In response to criticism leveled by both food safety experts and the public, Congress had commissioned the IOM to examine gaps in the current food safety system and to identify the tools needed to improve food safety.
The initial findings of the Reportable Food Registry, presented via teleconference in late July, revealed 125 primary reports regarding incidents affecting food safety. “We’re putting out this report [now] so that the public can know what we’re learning,” said Michael R. Taylor, JD, Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Over time, we hope that this will build a body of information that can be useful for tracking trends and understanding...
In recent years, food-related illnesses followed by highly publicized product recalls have created concerns that food product regulation in the United States is inadequate. The food industry has a complex regulatory structure, divided among many federal, state, and local authorities, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) handling almost all federal food inspections other than meat products.
Last year, millions of Americans looked to the nation’s capital for the latest news on pending healthcare legislation, while other bills that are critical to our nation’s health and well-being worked their way through Congress virtually unnoticed. The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 passed in the House, and the Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) is coming up for debate in the Senate in early 2010. These bills represent the first comprehensive overhaul of American food safety laws in...
Departments: HACCP Principles: Benchmark for Food Safety
The hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) food safety system was developed by the Pillsbury Company, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the U.S. Army Natick Laboratories in the late 1960s to develop foods for the space program.
Columns: QA/QC Finally Gets Some Respect
Nearly two decades ago, Food Quality was launched as the first publication to exclusively target the food quality and safety market. The world—and the food industry—were a lot different back then.
The United States is often said to have a two-pronged food safety regulatory system, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) responsible for inspecting meat, poultry, and eggs, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the other fresh and processed foods that make up 80% of the food supply. This system leads to frequently cited inspection gaps and overlaps that critics say contribute to food safety problems: The FDA oversees fresh eggs, but the USDA inspects processed egg products;...
Features: The Food Safety Countdown
Long-awaited legislation to reform and modernize the nation’s food safety system will likely be put off until next year while the Senate continues to grapple with healthcare reform and other contentious issues.
Features: Lessons Learned From Recent Recalls
The recent massive recall of food products containing peanuts and other peanut ingredients distributed by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) offers several insights into steps the food industry can take to avoid future contaminations and recalls. The recall also highlights the fact that the industry must take responsibility for safeguarding our nation’s food supply, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently lacks the resources to do so.
Features: Food Fight
Among the myriad of issues being considered in Congress, few touch the lives of Americans as directly as food quality. So it should come as no surprise that impassioned debate surrounds some of the more than a dozen bills under consideration in the House and Senate to reform and modernize the nation’s food safety system. While everyone agrees that safer food is a laudable goal, there is far less consensus as to how, or even whether, it can be achieved.