Food Safety Expectations
Consumers expect safe food. The Feds expect a safe food supply chain-farm, processing, packaging, and distribution. As we all work to consistently meet consumer food safety expectations, the need to prevent and control food adulteration and/or contamination is present in every step of the supply chain. Our modern and globally expanding food and beverage processing and packaging industries have made and continue to make great strides in improving food safety by improving preventive, control, cleaning and sanitation methods.
Making the Food Supply Safer
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, about forty-eight million (or one in six) Americans get sick and three thousand die each year from foodborne diseases. The CDC publishes food safety related information on their FoodNet site and found there, along with other useful data, is the Food Safety Progress Report (see Figure 1).
To broaden, build, and improve on this successful approach to food safety the US Congress passed a major amendment to the Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics (FD&C) Act called the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FSMA calls for an expansion of food safety practices to focus on preventive controls. The first two rules on Preventive Controls and Produce were released on January 4, 2013 for 120 days of public review. The public review has been extended again until November 15, 2013. See details at http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/default.htm.
The rule on Preventive Controls will have the greatest impact on food and beverage processing and packaging businesses. These preventive controls should be established and validated surrounding processes, environments and food allergens to ensure that the food will not be adulterated or misbranded under the FD&C Act.1 Food companies will be required to implement preventive controls within their Food Safety Plan which should evaluate potential hazards, specify preventive controls, monitor results, maintain records and specify corrective actions.
The Produce rule covers all fruits and vegetables which are typically consumed in the raw or unprocessed state. It focuses on the growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce and the potential sources of microbiological contamination which include water, animals, hygienic practices, tools, machinery, and facilities.
If you would like to learn more, the following links are good places to start.
http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm334115.htm# This link will take you to the Fact Sheet on the FSMA Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food: Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food.http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm334114.htm This link will take you to the Fact Sheet on the FSMA Proposed Rule for Produce: Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption.