October 15, 2019

FDA Examining Raw Milk Cheese Criteria

Cheesemakers, especially artisan producers, have suggested that the FDA is applying safety criteria to raw milk cheese production that limits producers without benefitting public health. Raw milk cheeses have been linked to recalls and food poisoning outbreaks in the past several years. Raw milk cheese produced by Family Cow in Pennsylvania caused Campylobacter illnesses in 2013, and there have been dozens of recalls of raw milk cheeses over the years. Raw milk cheese has been recalled for Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes contamination in all of the four years Food Poisoning Bulletin has been published. Some studies have concluded that aged raw milk cheeses are safe to eat, since the aging process changes the composition of the cheese. Aging reduces the … [Read more...]

FDA Finalizes FSMA Rule for Food Importers

The FDA has finalized the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs for food importers, in accordance with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. This rule requires that food importers perform "certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produce din a manner that meets applicable U.S. safety standards." FDA head Michael Taylor said in a statement, "under the new rules, importers will have the obligation to verify they are meeting U.S. standards. This is a fundamental paradigm shift from the FDA detecting and responding to problems with imported foods to industry being responsible for preventing them." Imported food makes up almost 20% of the food Americans eat. We import 52% of fresh fruits and 22% of the fresh vegetables in our diet. … [Read more...]

FDA Finalizes FSMA Rules on Produce Safety

The FDA finally finalized the rules on produce safety last week. Michael Taylor, the head of that agency said in a statement, "Its been a long and arduous task, to say the least. Finalizing the rules is just one part of building a modernized food safety system." The Food Safety Modernization Act was passed in 2011. The major rules in that Act have been slowly finalized by the FDA and the Office of Management and Budget. This latest new rule targets produce grows. They must ensure the safety of water in irrigation, since some outbreaks have been caused by produce contaminated by irrigation water that contains Salmonella or E. coli bacteria. They must make sure workers practice good hygiene in the field and while packing. A Cyclospora outbreak linked to imported cilantro lead to a ban … [Read more...]

Senator Durbin Vows to Continue Fight for FSMA Funding

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has called for providing the FDA with the funds it needs to fully implement the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA). The Senate appropriations committee passed a bill that fell short of the monies needed. The vote was along party lines. Durbin said that the huge recall of Aspen Foods and Barber Foods that are linked to two Salmonella outbreaks in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma highlights the need for increased vigilance. "The food safety allocation in this bill falls short of what is needed to reduce foodborne illness in this country," he said in a statement. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that it will take $276 million in additional funding to properly implement FSMA. The President's budget requested an increase of 109.5 million … [Read more...]

FDA Publishes Draft Guidance on Mandatory Recall Authority

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published draft guidance for industry on mandatory food recall authority. The draft contains nonbonding recommendations. The mandatory food recall provisions are part of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA). Section 423 of the FD&C Act gives authority to the government to order a responsible party to recall food when FDA determines there is a reasonable probability that the food is adulterated or misbranded, and that use of the food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. Before FSMA was enacted, FDA had to rely on corporations to voluntarily recall food products. This authority lets FDA force a recall when the responsible party chooses not to conduct a voluntary recall. The items that fall … [Read more...]

Senators Urge Full Food Safety Funding After Blue Bell Outbreak

U.S. Senators urge full funding of the Food Safety Modernization Act after the deadly Blue Bell Listeria monocytogenes outbreak and the recall of potentially contaminated pasta salad at Hy-Vee stores across the Midwest. FSMA has been underfunded by less than half the amount it needs for full implementation since it was signed into law four years ago. The Senators include Brian Schatz (D-HI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The letter states, in part, "The Food Safety Modernization Act was enacted to bring our nation's food safety system into the 21st century by enabling our agencies to prevent food contamination rather than reacting once illnesses have occurred. Prevention is … [Read more...]

Health Groups Ask Congress for More Money for FSMA

Several health advocacy groups have written a letter, asking Congress to add $50 million to the FDA’s fiscal year 2015 budget to full fund implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA). FDA has estimated that it needs an additional $300 million over the next few years to fully implement the law, which was the first reform of the nation’s food safety regulations in years. FDA is finalizing the rules of the law and is building the systems needed to implement it. FSMA changed FDA’s approach to food safety, focusing the agency’s efforts on preventing food safety problems before they occur rather than reacting to illnesses and outbreaks after they occur. The comprehensive food import oversight system section of FSMA is a first, making importer responsible for the safety … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Four Food Safety Modernization Act Rule Revisions

The Food and Drug Administration published four revised provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act today. The rules are for produce safety, preventive controls for human food, preventive controls for animal food, and Foreign Supplier Verification Programs. The produce safety rules is being revised for more flexible criteria for determining agricultural water safety along with a tiered approach to water testing. In addition, the government is deferring its decision on the correct time interval between applying raw manure to a crop and harvesting it, removing the original nine-month limit. On the preventive controls for human and animal foods, requirements that facilities test products is revised. Supplier controls will also be implemented. Good manufacturing practice requirements … [Read more...]

Members of Congress Want to See Full Funding for FSMA

Members of the U.S. House Roda DeLauro (D-CT) and Sam Farr (D-CA) sent a letter last week to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ask them to fully fund the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA) rather than relying on user fees. In the fiscal year 2015 budget, the FDA requested $1.48 million for food safety, which includes $255 million in proposed user fees. Their letter states that "FDA must have the resources to retrain the existing inspection workforce, hire new staff, and contract with states to leverage their inspection forces. Continuing outbreaks of foodborne illness undermine consumer confidence and greatly concern those of us who supported FSMA and want it to be implemented … [Read more...]

FDA Proposes Rule for Grocery Store Food Recall Notices

The FDA has issued advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to seek public input on part of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. The FDA may require manufacturers and distributors to submit "consumer-oriented" information when a recall is issued that will help consumers accurately identify whether they have the food that has been recalled. The FDA will then prepare and publish on their website a one-page summary of the information to be printed by grocery stores and displayed. The summary must be displayed prominently within 24 hours after it is published in the web site. The FDA wants input on the content of the consumer-oriented information, when it will be required, the formats required, and how updates will be handled. They also want to define "grocery store", and how the … [Read more...]

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