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Columns: Insure Against the Inevitable
If you think a recall is unlikely, or that you’ll be covered in the event it happens, think again. From a food safety standpoint, we are living in a dynamic and fast-changing world. Because microorganisms exist naturally in our environment, they will continue to find their way into many of our foods. Given recent improvements in national foodborne illness outbreak surveillance, more illnesses are identified and more outbreaks are reported.
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.
Features: Regulation and the U.S.–China Dynamic
In the past, within living memory, food processing was largely a localized system with production facilities located near the source of the food product supply, the two linked by short and relatively simple logistics. Today the global food processing industry is estimated at more than $2 trillion in annual sales, with approximately 25% directly involving international import/export sourcing.
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;...
Departments: Put Your Product to the Test
Food safety concerns have risen dramatically in recent years because of the severe consequences of foodborne illnesses. In order to assure product quality, optimize the efficiency and throughput of continuous processes, and comply with governmental regulations, the food industry must perform rigorous, real-time product safety testing on a regular basis.