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Food Safety

September is National Food Safety Education Month and in addition to sharing various pieces of educational content about food safety, such as food facts and podcasts, we’ve rounded up three can’t-miss sessions from IFT’s FIRST that examine the latest advancements in food safety. Each session is available on-demand through the end of the year.

  • “Closer to Zero” – The FDA’s Action Plan for Baby Food – Featuring Conrad Choiniere, Ph.D., director of the Office of Analytics and Outreach, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, this session discusses the FDA’s recently published plan detailing actions the agency will take to reduce exposure to toxic elements from foods eaten by babies and young children to the lowest possible levels. The session stems from a congressional report in February that found many of the products made by the country’s largest commercial baby food manufacturers contained high levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. As a result, advocacy groups, members of Congress, and parents pushed for swift agency action.
  • Does Enhanced Traceability and Record-Keeping Improve Food Safety? – As part of the FDA’s Smarter Era of Food Safety Blueprint, there is a proposed food traceability record-keeping rule that is likely to become a final regulation at the end of 2021 or 2022. Its impact is already being felt, as food manufacturing warehousing, distribution, and retail industries review and enhance their traceability systems. Session speakers represent an industry trade association, a multi-national food manufacturer, and a software company and overview how their respective work is enhancing food traceability from farm to fork. 
  • New Solutions for Industry Challenges: How Digital Tools in Risk Assessment, Whole Genome Sequencing, and Auditing Technology are Delivering Food Safety – The pandemic forced food companies to rapidly adapt to supply chain shifts and engage in new methods of food safety assurance. In this session, hear panelists discuss how such a challenging year accelerated technological innovation in food safety across the supply chain. Specific focus is paid to ingredient risk assessment, whole-genome sequencing, and virtual food auditing technology and how such science and technological innovation helped ensure business continuity and risk mitigation. 

The three sessions featured above are just a fraction of the food safety insights shared at FIRST. Fortunately, access to the FIRST scientific content, which includes panel discussions and technical research posters on a range of topics, is available through December 31, 2021, so it’s not too late to immerse yourself in this rich information, learn something new, and connect with experts in the various topic areas. If you already registered for FIRST, you can log in with your existing credentials. Otherwise, explore the program overview and register now for on-demand access. 

To view a roundup of IFT’s food safety-related content, check out our page from World Food Safety Day. Here, you’ll find a variety of articles, videos, and blog posts to help you better understand foodborne illness and take the necessary steps to mitigate risks at home. 

About the Author

Bryan Hitchcock is the senior director, food chain, and executive director of IFT's Global Food Traceability Center.

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