In the United States, two different regulatory organizations oversee food labeling for different product types. The first post in our blog series broke down which food products fall under the labeling jurisdiction for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as how the above affects a product’s statement of identity. Now that we’ve established that base, we will delve deeper into the various differences between USDA and FDA food labeling, from the way nutrition claims are handled to safe handling instructions and everything in between. Below are six essential differences between food labeling guidelines for the two regulatory bodies:

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An integral part of choosing your ingredient suppliers is verifying the safety and quality of the product they’re sending you. Perhaps you work in a quality assurance or food safety role at an FDA-registered facility. Perhaps your facility’s hazard analysis states the ingredient in question is associated with a hazard that requires a supply chain-applied control. Do you know what to do if you’re volunteered to conduct the onsite audit of a potential ingredient supplier? Maybe you’re an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor, but you’ve never actually audited a supplier before. You may be panicking a bit… wondering where to start, yes? Of course you are!

To help with this process, I’ve broken down the seven steps you can take to ensure the successful audit of an ingredient supplier: Continue Reading

This year, the Chicago Section IFT Symposium and Suppliers’ Night focused entirely on the hot topic of Clean Labels. During one popular session, a moderator asked a panel of consumers several questions regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) undefined term, “clean label,” and marketing claims surrounding the term such as natural, which has also not been defined by the FDA. Research from Mintel was presented demonstrating how claims like, “no additives,” “no preservatives” or “non-GMO,” are becoming more commonplace. Below are four key takeaways our experts found most valuable from Chicago IFT 2017. Continue Reading

As consumers begin to pay closer attention to their health and wellness, they are also increasing their interest in the source and composition of the food they are eating. This can be seen in the 2008 book, by Michael Pollan, “In Defense of Food,” which offers several suggestions for healthy eating. One of the key rules informs readers, “don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce and your grandmother wouldn’t recognize.” Accordingly, a focus on short, simpler ingredient lists has become a major component of the trend known as clean label. Continue Reading

Required under both the FDA and USDA-FSIS regulations, the Hazard Analysis is arguably the most important component of any food manufacturer’s food safety system. Unless identification of CCPs or Preventive Controls is based on a scientifically sound, properly-supported hazard analysis, hazards may not be adequately controlled. Since microbial hazards often represent the greatest potential food safety risk for food products, it’s critical to understand the microbiological profile of ingredients. This requires both general knowledge of hazards applicable to a particular ingredient and specific information on the ingredients sourced from your suppliers. Continue Reading