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News: Initial Reportable Food Registry Numbers Released

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...

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: Senate Food Safety Bill

News: Senate Food Safety Bill

Senate Democrats are working on an agreement with Republicans that they hope will allow the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (S. 510) to reach the Senate floor for debate in September, according to a Senate staffer familiar with the discussion.

Columns: The FDA Shifts From Food Safety to Public Safety

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.

News: FDA Issues Guidance on Antibiotics in Food Animals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a draft guidance calling for the “judicious use” of antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals. The document, released June 28, calls for use of antibiotics only under veterinary oversight and when necessary for ensuring animal health.

Columns: A Realistic Approach to Food Safety Regulation

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: 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.

Departments: Food Safety Goes Global

Risks arising from an improperly designed, implemented, and maintained food safety system can have financially crippling effects, from brand damage, decreased consumer confidence, product recalls, illness, death, and legal ramifications. And, with globalization and an increase in supplies from emerging countries, the likelihood of these risks grows and the processes to manage them effectively become more complex. An additional element in this struggle is the varying acceptance of food safety standards and...

Departments: Protect Your Customers From Gluten

A Google search of the word combination “gluten free” returns a staggering 7 million results. Many provide information regarding gluten-free ingredients, recipes, and prepared foods currently available in the marketplace. This tidal wave of information is the result of the heightened interest in gluten-free diets of an increasing number of people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease (CD).

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October/November 2014

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