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Guidance documents issued by the FDA in late June describe the agency’s “current thinking” on its approach to regulation of nanotechnology products, including its use in food production. The FDA states that use of nanotechnology is not “intrinsically benign or harmful.”
The U.S. FDA welcomes an “open dialogue” with the artisanal cheesemaking community and state officials to discuss the safety of aging certain types of cheeses on wooden shelving. In a constituent update on June 11, the FDA said that recent reports that the agency is taking steps to end the practice of using wooden boards to age cheese “are not accurate.”
USDA’s FSIS and the CDC Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will provide a more comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to address foodborne health hazards in meat, poultry, and processed egg products.
The economic downturn in recent years adversely affected the readiness of local and state food safety agencies to respond to foodborne illness outbreaks. A report that the National Environmental Health Association distributed in May found that budget cuts and financial constraints led to stagnating salaries, staff reductions, inadequate or underfunded training, and a decreased ability to respond to outbreaks.
A controversy that was brewing over the use of byproducts from beer production as animal food may have been turned aside by an FDA official’s recent reassurances regarding language in the proposed animal feed rule. Brewers and others have raised concerns that, as written, language in the animal feed rule of FSMA would have a significant economic impact on the beer brewing industry and on farmers who rely on the byproducts of brewing for use as animal feed.
On April 21, the Vermont House of Representatives voted to accept a Senate-passed bill that would make the state the first to require food makers to label products that contain genetically modified crops. Vermont’s Governor, Peter Shumlin, has said he will sign the bill, which would take effect in July 2016.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently announced that it will review en banc the case that declares USDA’s Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) rule unconstitutional. This follows the March 28, 2014 ruling that had the court upholding COOL, saying the rule can indeed be enforced. New oral arguments will now take place on May 19, 2014.
Examining how FDA's budget request for Fiscal 2015 will affect FSMA implementation, FDA inspections, industry user fees, and more
Food industry employers may need to take a hard look at their processes for handling employee complaints about perceived food safety issues, given the provisions of a new interim final rule about how whistleblower complaints will be handled in the future.