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

What is a “healthy” food? Should a “healthy” food contain specific levels of vitamins and minerals? Conversely, should a “healthy” food limit potentially harmful components such as saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar or sodium? Questions surrounding the definition of a “healthy” labeling claim have surged in recent years due to the rising consumer demand for nutritious foods. Continue Reading

A decade ago, allergens were an uncommon cause of meat and poultry product recalls in the United States. The proportion of meat and poultry products recalled annually due to allergens steadily increased from 8% in 2008 to 35% in 2012 due to increased awareness of the issue by inspection personnel and establishments. Moreover, the total number of recall events involving meat and poultry products due to undeclared allergens increased 103% between the calendar years 2012 and 2015. Undeclared allergens have now become the leading reason for recalls of meat and poultry products from the U.S. marketplace. Continue Reading

Believe it or not, it’s been nearly five years since Canada approved its comprehensive food safety legislation known as the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA). The legislation was developed to streamline Canada’s food safety regulations, improve regulatory oversight, and increase international regulatory alignment with its key trading partners, particularly the United States. To implement the legislation, Canada recently published the proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. Continue Reading

A majority of consumers find the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) debate complex and confusing, especially with regulations varying from country to country. With the growing push to eat more “all natural” and “organic” foods comes increased concerns about products that are manufactured with genetically modified ingredients, irregardless of concrete evidence that GMOs are either good or bad for human health.

After months of debate in Congress, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law requiring the labeling of food containing genetically modified ingredients on July 29th. To make more sense of the new law, below is a brief list of the main takeaways from the legislation: Continue Reading