Food industry associations and consumer advocacy groups have influenced the development of many key U.S. food policies and regulations, but the impact of consumer lawsuits upon the regulatory process cannot be denied. Since 2008, the number of class action lawsuits filed against food and beverage companies has increased from approximately twenty to more than a hundred lawsuits annually in recent years. While some of the legal challenges could be dismissed as frivolous, several cases have fueled the evolution of significant labeling and safety regulatory initiatives that are now under consideration by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).    Continue Reading

Would mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labels or a symbol to designate a food as ‘Healthy,’ help curb the incidence of diet-related chronic diseases? Academic and industry research has shown that nutrition information on the front of food packages is more commonly viewed by American adult consumers than the Nutrition Facts panel, which is placed on the side or back of a package. The increased viewing of nutrition information is associated with healthier dietary patterns. While several countries are advancing regulations for front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labeling schemes, the future of a mandatory FOP system in the U.S. remains uncertain. Continue Reading

Questions about the safety of fresh produce are in the headlines again following recent North American outbreaks involving Salmonella in sprouts, Salmonella in papayas and E. coli O157:H7 linked to romaine lettuce. Moreover, the Produce Safety rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) took effect for large farms in January, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the next stage of its targeted sampling program for fresh produce and related commodities. Continue Reading

Writer G.K. Chesterton once suggested that, “Whenever you remove any fence, always pause long enough to ask why it was put there in the first place.” This advice seems particularly relevant to the current deregulatory environment in the United States. A 2017 Executive Order required federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation, which resulted in the withdrawal or delay of 1,579 regulations. How might the removal of positive regulatory initiatives impact food safety, public health and your business in the new year? Continue Reading

If you follow the North American food regulatory trends, then I am sure you have noticed the torrent of new U.S. food regulations from recent years slowed to a trickle this year. While the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is ongoing, the Trump Administration’s order to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation seems to have hindered the agencies responsible for issuing new regulations.    Continue Reading

Coffee lovers in California could soon be jolted awake by a cancer warning displayed in all coffee chains, grocers and other retail store locations. While scientific studies have shown a “cup of joe” can reduce the risk of many diseases, including certain cancers and type 2 diabetes, scientists have also determined that roasted coffee poses a cancer risk. Continue Reading

Food allergies are known to affect millions of Americans annually, and a new study has confirmed the growing prevalence of serious reactions to food allergens. Between the years 2007 and 2016, the number of serious allergic reactions to food spiked nearly 400 percent in the United States, according to a report by FAIR Health.

As insurance claims surged within the past decade, product recalls and consumer lawsuits against food companies due to allergen labeling errors have also increased. The complexity of the global food supply chain is creating new headaches for food manufacturers trying to control allergen hazards. As demonstrated in recent years, the undisclosed presence of an allergen in one ingredient (e.g. ground cumin or cumin powder) can trigger recalls of a wide variety of finished products. Continue Reading

The Trump Administration’s Executive Orders requiring federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation is adversely impacting the agencies responsible for food safety and nutrition. On July 20th, the federal government released the latest Unified Agenda of federal regulatory activities, which contained a new category for regulations requiring further review or consideration.

Within the Spring 2017 agenda, more than 100 regulatory measures were identified under this new category “inactive,” including significant regulations related to food labeling, organic agriculture and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The impactful regulatory measures considered “inactive” in the food industry are detailed below: Continue Reading