Note: This is the second installment in a three-part series. Part I can be found here; Part III will appear on April 25th.

The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard is now the law of the land. From a consumer’s perspective, there are now federal regulations requiring food products containing bioengineered/GMO ingredients to disclose this on their packaging. From an industry perspective, the potential implications, impact, and costs could be significant. Mandatory disclosure could play out in a number of ways.  There are, however, numerous paths to exemption.

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Note: This is the first in a three-part series. Part II will appear on April 12th. Part III will appear on April 25th.

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has issued its final rule governing bioengineered food and food ingredients. The law outlines the businesses, products, and high-risk inputs covered under the regulations, as well as the criteria for exemption. Yes, there’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s all about disclosure. 

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Where have we been, and where are we headed?  

These are the two questions I ask myself every Friday evening before I close the lid of my laptop. Lately, I’ve had to sieve out a lot of foreign matter to get to the pure kernels of truth.

The food industry is just that – an industry. As such, there is an ongoing struggle between sticking to convention while also keeping pace with changes in resources, technology, perhaps most importantly, consumer trends. Yeah, easier said than done.

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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

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

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

A well-known idiom attributed to Benjamin Franklin states, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This provides an apt analogy for the importance of proper nutrition for disease prevention in modern times. Consumers are often advised to modify their diets to prevent the progression of serious diseases. Moreover, the importance of understanding the evolving food labeling regulations cannot be underestimated for food companies seeking to prevent food product recalls and other enforcement activities related to labeling errors. Continue Reading

Those with lengthy careers or students of food microbiology history may recall the original Listeria Hysteria in the 1980s. While Listeria monocytogenes was responsible for an outbreak associated with fluid milk earlier in the decade, the Jalisco Cheese-related outbreak in 1985 was a major eye opener for the food industry. In the ensuing years, multiple dairy products were found to contain Listeria monocytogenes. A few years after that, the Ready-to-Eat (RTE) meat industry was the center of attention relative to reported incidents of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Over the next few years, fruits, vegetables, seafood, deli salads and other products were also found to contain Listeria monocytogenes. Continue Reading