In a previous blog post, I explained that the new produce safety regulations released as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) do not address the cause of past foodborne illness outbreaks, leaving the produce industry in limbo. It also leaves consumers unprotected because they view most produce items as being “ready-to-eat” (RTE), meaning that they are able to be consumed without any additional washing or cooking. Regardless of where a farm or packing shed falls within the regulations, this perception by consumers raises significant concerns for public health, which then fall to the grower or packer to address. Continue Reading

The expression “may you live in interesting times” can be both a blessing and a curse. In North America, we are certainly living in interesting, challenging times for the food industry. The trade tariff wars and the uncertain fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) may leave companies operating within the United States, Canada and Mexico with a sense of instability. However, despite the political challenges, food safety regulations within North America are evolving in positive ways.

As the U.S. continues the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Canada recently unveiled new regulations to implement its Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA). Will the new Canadian rules align with the U.S. FSMA regulations to harmonize food safety requirements and streamline trade between the countries? Let’s take a closer look at the most recent developments below. 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

With summer vacation season upon us, most people can relate to the angst of the question, “Are we there yet?”  In fact, I suspect many food industry professionals have recently pondered this question when reflecting on the regulations of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and then wondered what is “coming down the pike?”

Upon enactment of the FSMA law in January 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented a few requirements immediately, but the most significant rules require years to develop.  The implementation phase of the FSMA regulations officially began two years ago with the beginning of Phase II of the FDA’s operational strategy for FSMA, which included regulator training and targeted risk-based inspection, sampling, testing and data collection activities. 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