The old saying is to never judge a book by its cover, but consumers regularly judge a food item by its label. Increasingly, customers are spending more time reading every part of a product’s label before they buy it, from the claims on the front to the nutrition information to the ingredients list. Here at Mérieux NutriSciences, our Labeling Compliance & Nutrition Services team works to help food manufacturers create compliant food, menu and nutrition labels with federal regulations, including Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health Canada. Continue Reading
It’s already been a month since the menu labeling compliance date of May 7, 2018 has passed! Can you believe it? Many restaurants and food service establishment teams are breathing a sigh of relief now that their menus are compliant, but do you know what you need to focus on next regarding menu labeling? To help shed some light on menu maintenance and future trends, read my responses to the 5 key questions you may have now that the compliance date has finally come and gone.
1) How is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enforcing these regulations? The FDA has said that they will be working with restaurants to make sure they are complying with menu labeling regulations accurately. However, it is unknown if the FDA will have an enforcement plan and charge fines for non-compliance in the future. Continue Reading
A recall is a potential source of anxiety for any food manufacturer, but, if conducted effectively, recalls can be an invaluable tool for protecting a company’s reputation, brand image and sales. However, a recent government study has identified deficiencies in the food recall processes of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has prompted the agency to propose new policies for improving the oversight, communication and implementation of its recall process. 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
Each year, we at Mérieux NutriSciences get excited about the opportunity to honor our founder, Dr. John H Silliker, through the sponsorship of The John H. Silliker Lecture as part of the annual IAFP program. This year marks the 50th anniversary of when Dr. Silliker, already known for his work on Salmonella, began his own small business dedicated to food safety and quality. That small business has grown to operate nearly 100 laboratories in 21 countries. Dr. Silliker’s leadership established a culture that places consumer health and well-being at the heart of all Mérieux NutriSciences initiatives across the globe. Continue Reading
Since 2009, FSIS-inspected product recalls for undeclared allergens have accounted for more than one in five recalls. In 2014, for example, allergens accounted for nearly half (46.7%) of all FSIS recalls. While the importance of properly labeling major food allergens has grown in recent years, it’s clear that the meat and poultry industry still has work to do. Continue Reading
A decade ago, allergens were an uncommon cause of meat and poultry product recalls in the United States. The proportion of meat and poultry products recalled annually due to allergens steadily increased from 8% in 2008 to 35% in 2012 due to increased awareness of the issue by inspection personnel and establishments. Moreover, the total number of recall events involving meat and poultry products due to undeclared allergens increased 103% between the calendar years 2012 and 2015. Undeclared allergens have now become the leading reason for recalls of meat and poultry products from the U.S. marketplace. Continue Reading
Late in 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall of cumin samples for undeclared allergens. Adventitious presence of allergens is common, and the agency has conducted frequent recalls in this category. The number of allergen-related recalls that year was 34%, surpassing recalls of products caused by microbiological issues (30%).
This small-scale recall soon snowballed into a widespread series of allergy-related recalls since the 2006 passage of the U.S. Food Allergen Labelling and Consumer Protection Act. A single Pennsylvania company recalled more than 35,000 pounds of its chili products; another company recalled more than 500 of its spice products from shelves nationwide.  Continue Reading