FDA requests input on priorities
The Food and Drug Administration is requesting input to help it establish program priorities for its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for fiscal year 2003 (October 1, 2002–September 30, 2003). Deadline for comments is August 20. Details are in the Federal Register of June 21 (67 FR 42272-42273). For more information, contact Donald J. Carrington at FDA, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740 (phone 301-436-1697).
General use of acesulfame K sought
Nutrinova, Inc., has asked FDA to allow use of acesulfame potassium as a general-purpose sweetener and flavor enhancer. Details are in the Federal Register of May 20 (67 FR 35552). For more information, contact Blondell Anderson at FDA, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740-3835 (phone 202-418-3106).
Not enough acrylamide data
A World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization Consultation said on June 27 that the average intake of acrylamide by consumers appears to be below levels which produce nerve damage but that the problem of acrylamide in food is a major concern because the substance is probably carcinogenic in humans. However, it did not consider the available data adequate enough to present specific quantitative estimates of cancer risk. FDA’s Deputy Commissioner Lester M. Crawford said on June 27 that the agency will carefully analyze the Consultation’s report as part of its on-going assessment of acrylamide in foods but that FDA is unaware of any present data regarding acrylamide that would cause the agency to alter its current dietary recommendations for consumers.
Input sought for Food Chemicals Codex
FDA is soliciting comments on proposed new monographs and changes for publication in the fifth edition of Food Chemicals Codex in fall 2003. Deadline for comments is August 12. Details are in the Federal Register of June 11 (67 FR 39999-40001). For more information, contact Ricardo A. Molins at Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20418 (phone 202-334-2580) or Paul M. Kuznesof at FDA, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740 (phone 202-418-3009).
Meat samples to be tested
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has directed inspectors at establishments using Advanced Meat Recovery (AMR) systems—which enable processors to remove remaining muscle tissue from beef carcasses without breaking bones—to take routine regulatory samples to verify that spinal cord is not present in the product. If spinal cord tissue is identified, neither the product nor the equipment can be used until corrective action has been taken. If the product has been distributed, FSIS will request a voluntary recall. FSIS will also propose changes to strengthen an existing proposed AMR rule to include central nervous system tissue removal specifications.
Iceberg water permit extended
FDA has extended a temporary permit issued to Iceberg Industries Corp., to market-test a product called “Borealis Iceberg Water,” a name that does not meet the standard of identity for bottled water. The company has asked FDA to amend the standard to provide for a new kind of bottled water, “iceberg water,” and to require icebergs in a marine environment as its source. Details are in the Federal Register of June 27 (67 FR 43325-43326). For more information, contact Loretta A. Carey at FDA, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740 (phone 301-436-2371).
NASA invites proposals
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research on June 6 announced the availability of grants for such projects as development of food shelf-stable for 3–5 years, advanced packaging technologies to minimize waste, and highly automated equipment to process or prepare crops grown in space or bulk stored ingredients. Application deadline is August 21. Details are available at http://sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/SBIR/sbirsttr2002/solicitation/download.html.
Permit for nonstandard tomatoes
FDA has issued a temporary permit to Del Monte Corp. to market- test canned tomatoes that deviate from the standard of identity by using (1) a liquid carbohydrate sweetener as an optional ingredient in lieu of dry nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners, and (2) the term “chunky.” Details are in the Federal Register of June 27 (67 FR 43325). For more information, contact Ritu Nalubola at FDA, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740 (phone 301-436-2371).
by NEIL H. MERMELSTEIN