Food Safety & Defense IFT provides the latest information to ensure that science is at the center of food related public policy and regulatory decision making.

New Resource to Help Protect Consumers from Pathogen Risks in Food and Water
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today (July 31, 2012) unveiled a new tool that will help scientists improve the quality of data collected and used to protect consumers from pathogen-related risks in food and water. The tool, a Microbial Risk Assessment (MRA) Guideline, was jointly developed with EPA as a public health collaborative project.

FSIS has posted the MRA Guideline on its Web page at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/Microbial_Risk_Assessment_Guideline/index.asp.

EPA has posted the MRA Guideline on its Web page at http://www.epa.gov/raf/microbial.htm.

The MRA Guideline will also be available to download at www.regulations.gov beginning July 31, 2012.

GAO releases new report “Food Safety: FDA's Food Advisory and Recall Process Needs Strengthening”
GAO (United States Government Accountability Office) Report is titled "Food Safety: FDA's Food Advisory and Recall Process Needs Strengthening; GAO-12-589". Report is posted at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-589. GAO recommends, among other things, that FDA issue regulations or industry guidance to clarify its ordered food recall process and implement recommendations from others to address FDA communication challenges in advising the public about food recalls and outbreaks. The agency neither agreed nor disagreed with GAO’s recommendations but cited ongoing agency actions that are to address most recommendations. Four recommendations aim to strengthen FDA’s process for ordering recalls and 3 recommendations address FDA’s communication challenges in advising the public about food recalls and outbreaks.

IOM Report on FDA Role in Enhancing Food Safety (PDF Download)
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC) yesterday released a consensus report, entitled Enhancing Food Safety: The Role of the Food and Drug Administration. The report was requested by Congress and sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The IOM committee responsible for the report included representatives from academia, state government, and industry.

Traceability (Product Tracing) in Food Systems Report
A new technical study commissioned by FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and released by the Institute of Food Technologists that recommends guidelines to establish a comprehensive product tracing system to track the movement of food products effectively from farm to table.

Food Safety Bill, HR 2749
Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 - (Sec. 5) Exempts food and facilities regulated by the Secretary of Agriculture under specified acts from the requirements of this Act. (Sec. 6) Exempts specified alcohol-related facilities from the requirements of this Act.

Food Safety Bill, Senate, S510
FDA Food Safety Modernization Act - Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to expand the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the Secretary) to regulate food, including by authorizing the Secretary to suspend the registration of a food facility.

FDA Report Reveals Airline Food Could Pose Health Threat
Recently, USA Today examined FDA government documents that showed many of the meals served to airline passengers are prepared in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Inspectors from the FDA have cited many catering facilities that are responsible for preparing airline food for health and sanitation violations that the inspectors suspected during inspections of the companies kitchens over the past two years. These violations were discovered in reports obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Two of the world's largest airline caterers were inspected, LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet along with another large caterer called Flying Food Group. These three caterers have 91 kitchens that supply more than 100 million meals each year to U.S. and foreign airlines at U.S. airports including Delta, US Airways, American, United and Continental. Some of the details of the FDA reports say many facilities use unclean equipment, store food at improper temperatures, as well as employ workers who practice poor hygiene.

States Ease Food Safety Rules For Homemade Goods
In February 2010 Wisconsin lawmakers enacted the "Pickle Bill" which no longer requires vendors of pickles, jams and other high-acid canned foods at farmers markets to obtain licenses. In Maine, small farmers can sell slaughtered chickens without worrying about the inspection of their facilities. In the past the federal and state level government laws have required that most food sold to the public be made in licensed facilities that are open to government inspectors. However, recently the trend of consumers seeking out locally grown food has motivated a few states to create exemptions from such laws for amateur chefs that sell homemade goods. This decision has sparked a debate of how exactly to balance the need for food safety and regulation. According to supporters of the exemptions, they recognize food safety regulations designed for big commercial food handlers can be a burden for cooks on a smaller scale who would like to make extra income by selling canned goods and specialty products. On the other hand, opponents of the exemptions stand by their opinion that without regulation the risk of foodborne illnesses to the public is great.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g7vdBQ9_7xrA7Sb4Cu30G5tAmmwD9GK54TG0

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