In response to the recent Listeria outbreak in cantaloupe, consumers are extremely concerned about selecting fruits and vegetables with care. There are a variety of issues on a regular basis,including outbreaks, and responses to consumers regarding those outbreaks, that impact food throughout federal agencies active on the Hill. Those issues affect food regulators, food producers, and food companies who spend their days contemplating the food that Americans eat and whether that food is safe.
And even though the U.S.Dept. of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have implemented standards and regulations to improve food safety and reduce foodborne illness, the task of ensuring food safe for consumption has become more complex over time. The FDA relies heavily on farmers, food producers, and food manufacturers to monitor themselves. However, this has done little to mitigate the fact that each year 48 million people suffer from foodborne illnesses.
In light of such challenges, the U.S. government recently endorsed tougher regulations to increase food safety. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) provides the FDA with a legal mandate to implement comprehensive measures aimed at preventing foodborne illnesses. Among other things, the legislation holds food companies accountable for preventing contamination, adhering to science-based standards for the safe growing and harvesting of fruits and vegetables, and participating in a traceability system.
An effective tool to help food industry professionals sort through the new legislative requirements and provide a refresher on other food regulations is IFT’s Food Policy Impact Conference. This one-day event is designed to provide accurate interpretation of new food laws, an overview of emerging foodrelated- issues, and a comprehensive assessment of how U.S. food policy impacts industry. Food policy experts will present knowledge and solutions for food safety measures, labeling and food marketing, and regulatory compliance.
On Thursday, December 1, 2011, the conference will commence with an update on the implementation of the FSMA. Speakers Michael Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods, and Jenny Scott, Senior Advisor to the CFSAN Office of Food Safety, will discuss the legislation’s progress, success, and opportunities. At noon, a general session will cover the implications of social media as it relates to food product marketing. Speaker Richard L. Cleland, Assistant Director of Advertising Practices, Federal Trade Commission, will discuss ways companies can use social media to endorse ideas and build awareness within the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines and policies for promotion.
The conference will also have sessions in two tracks: food safety and food labeling & marketing. In the food safety rack, attorney John Bode will lead a session on the FSMA, describing the act’s implications and applications. Leavitt Partners’ David Acheson, Managing Director of Food and Import Safety Practice, will discuss the FSMA’s verification requirement for foreign suppliers and the effect it will have on food importers. And Costco’s Craig Wilson, Vice President and General Merchandising Manager, will describe the effect the FSMA has on third-party certifiers and laboratories. The food safety track will also include a presentation on reconciling product tracing and proprietary data and a session on introducing new ingredients within legal parameters.
In the food labeling & marketing track, Keith Fentonmiller,Senior Attorney, Federal Trade Commission, will lead a presentation on how U.S. requirements,industry initiatives, and global policy influence food marketing. Dan Jaffe, Executive Vice President, Association of National Advertisers, and Dale Bornstein, Senior Partner, Ketchum, will join Fentonmiller to discuss key federal documentation, advertisers’ adherence to regulations, and the impact of global regulations on marketing and communication. A presentation detailing the effect of global food policies on U.S. food labeling laws will be included in this track as well as a session on country-of-origin labeling requirements,front-of-pack labeling, and prospective label legislation.
Peter Barton Hutt, Senior Counsel for Covington & Burling LLP, will close the conference with his perspectives on the effectiveness of U.S. food policy and regulations. For attendees seeking more labeling information, IFT is offering a two-day short course November 29–30, 2011, at the same location as the conference.
Don’t miss IFT’s first-ever opportunity to obtain comprehensive information on food safety policies, food labeling, and food marketing. Plan to attend the Food Policy Impact Conference and visit the Meetings & Events tab at www.ift.org for more details.
Roger Clemens, Dr.P.H.,
IFT President, 2011–2012
Chief Scientific Officer, ETHorn, La Mirada, Calif.