Would you be prepared if the FDA showed up at your facility unexpectedly to perform a swabathon? The FDA is conducting these elevated inspections by swabbing ready-to-eat (RTE) and high-risk food manufacturing facilities in search of foodborne pathogens. To help prepare manufacturers for these swabathons, our subject matter expert, Tim Freier, Ph.D., sat down to answer some questions posed by food industry professionals following our recent swabathon webinar, which is available to stream on-demand for free. 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
Technical Tuesday: Will Meeting GFSI Requirements Help Me Comply With the Preventive Controls Rule (FSMA)?Jeff Strout /
Clients often ask me, “If I am certified to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), will I be ready for the FDA to inspect my operation for compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventive Controls Rule?” In the past, I have told many clients with certifications such as the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Code and British Retail Consortium (BRC) Standard, that because they went through the steps to become certified, they are well positioned to ensure compliance with the FSMA law requirements. However, there are similarities and differences between the two that must be taken into account. For companies that fall under the FDA regulatory jurisdiction and must become compliant with the FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule or the Animal Food Rule, taking the journey to become GFSI certified will help them meet the FSMA requirements. It will also change the working culture throughout the organization to prepare for FSMA implementation. Continue Reading
Many companies have Environmental Monitoring Programs (EMPs) setup to monitor the processing (and surrounding) environments for transient pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella. However, it is important to realize that growth niches are likely to occur from these transient guests. If your EMP does not include a “seek and destroy mission,” an event section, (i.e. increasing swab surveillance with roof leaks, construction, etc) or is simply not robust enough, then routine monitoring may be insufficient protection against an FDA swabathon. Additionally, if your site selection is fixed, new sites aren’t being rotated in, a low number of swabs are being taken, you have an infrequent swabbing schedule and corrective actions are not being implemented, the same result will surely occur.
The top priority for most food manufacturers is protecting the food consumers eat. Yet, one of the major causes of product recalls in the food industry is product contamination in the processing environment by pathogens such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. These pathogens take up residence within the structure of food plants and within the processing equipment itself. Once it makes a home there, it can contaminate the food products it comes into contact with as they make their way through the production process. Continue Reading
Has the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) detained one of your shipments? Are your fists clenched and heart racing in frustration, desperation or fear? When you receive this notification from the FDA, there’s no need to panic. Among other tasks, the FDA is responsible for keeping our food supply safe.
Why has your product been detained? When the FDA has a reason to suspect a shipment is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, they have the authority to detain shipments. This law gives the FDA the right to examine food, drugs, cosmetics, tobacco products, devices and radiation-emitting electronic products that are to be imported into the United States. If a product is found to be adulterated or misbranded, the FDA can refuse to admit it into the country. The FDA can detain products without physical examination on the basis of a history of violations, or on information about how a product was made. For example, if the FDA believes your fresh tomatoes were grown using a prohibited pesticide, they could detain your shipment. Continue Reading
Laboratory accreditation was mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) over four years ago, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to propose regulations for implementing the new requirements. The agency’s court-ordered deadlines to complete certain FSMA regulations, including preventive controls, produce safety standards, and the foreign supplier verification program, has delayed the laboratory accreditation mandate. Laboratory testing is an important component of several FSMA regulations, however, prompting many stakeholders to urge the agency to expedite the accreditation rule. Continue Reading
Ensuring the safety and quality of pet food in the United States continues to be a challenging and complex endeavor. Despite the highly regulated nature of the industry and pet food manufacturers’ best efforts, there are many challenges, such as the growing complexity of global supply chains, emerging contaminants and evolving regulatory, and customer requirements. With these challenges as a backdrop, several well-known incidents linked to microbiological hazards, natural toxins, and chemical contaminants have occurred in recent years. Continue Reading