The potential risk of unsafe chemicals in foods has generated significant attention on social media in recent years due to growing consumer demands for “clean food” and food safety. Within the United States, the infamous Proposition 65 law in California is responsible for the majority of warning labeling requirements for chemical contaminants, but there has been an upward trend in state legislative proposals related to the risk of certain chemicals in consumer products. In response to this trend, several major food industry associations have joined forces to support a new federal bill titled the Accurate Labels Act, which seeks to impose more stringent scientific criteria for warning labels related to chemicals. If the bill becomes law, it could supersede or undermine the various state labeling requirements for chemical contaminants if the state rules are not grounded in the “best available science.” Continue Reading

The summer season in the United States results in lots of time spent outdoors and on-the-go, with no shortage of snack foods in tow. However, unlike the snacks from past decades and all other prepared foods on the market, today’s products likely lack the artificial trans fats known as partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). PHOs have been a subject of controversy and confusion among consumers for the past several decades since their commercialization in the mid-twentieth century. Let’s briefly examine their sudden rise in the marketplace followed by their dramatic decline, resulting in the current regulatory ban on PHOs. 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

Would mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labels or a symbol to designate a food as ‘Healthy,’ help curb the incidence of diet-related chronic diseases? Academic and industry research has shown that nutrition information on the front of food packages is more commonly viewed by American adult consumers than the Nutrition Facts panel, which is placed on the side or back of a package. The increased viewing of nutrition information is associated with healthier dietary patterns. While several countries are advancing regulations for front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labeling schemes, the future of a mandatory FOP system in the U.S. remains uncertain. 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

The choice between eating a salad or a frosted donut may seem obvious in terms of nutrition, but for many of us, this can be a difficult decision. Despite our knowledge of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, the majority of Americans are still failing to follow the federal dietary guidelines. In fact, a recently published study revealed that only 1 in 10 of American adults consume the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables (CDC, 2017). Continue Reading

Coffee lovers in California could soon be jolted awake by a cancer warning displayed in all coffee chains, grocers and other retail store locations. While scientific studies have shown a “cup of joe” can reduce the risk of many diseases, including certain cancers and type 2 diabetes, scientists have also determined that roasted coffee poses a cancer risk. Continue Reading

Food allergies are known to affect millions of Americans annually, and a new study has confirmed the growing prevalence of serious reactions to food allergens. Between the years 2007 and 2016, the number of serious allergic reactions to food spiked nearly 400 percent in the United States, according to a report by FAIR Health.

As insurance claims surged within the past decade, product recalls and consumer lawsuits against food companies due to allergen labeling errors have also increased. The complexity of the global food supply chain is creating new headaches for food manufacturers trying to control allergen hazards. As demonstrated in recent years, the undisclosed presence of an allergen in one ingredient (e.g. ground cumin or cumin powder) can trigger recalls of a wide variety of finished products. Continue Reading