Arsenic, once known as the “king of poisons,” is a naturally occurring element found worldwide at low levels in water, food, air, and soil. Human exposure to arsenic can occur through ingestion of unregulated drinking water and certain agricultural commodities, particularly rice.  In recent years, several studies by consumer advocacy groups have highlighted the presence of this toxic metal in a variety of food products.

On August 5, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a long-awaited guidance establishing an action level of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal.  While the FDA action level is a good start, the United States still lags behind other nations in terms of setting limits for heavy metals in food.  Here are five facts to consider in regard to arsenic and the food supply. Continue Reading

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

The infant formula market is growing rapidly as consumers decide to use powdered formulas as a supplement to, or in place of, breastfeeding. Formula typically serves as an infant’s sole source of nutrition, which poses unique challenges to infant food manufacturers. Because it serves as one of the only foods an infant consumes, it is vital to safeguard and protect infant formula against potential adulteration issues, whether that be physical, chemical or microbiological. Infant formula also contains more nutritional components than traditional foods, so the supply chain tends to be longer and more global than other commodities due to the procurement of many ingredients. Continue Reading