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What’s in the future for food safety regulations?

February 06, 2013

meatThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently requested a higher budget for the implementation of its food safety regulations that significantly impact the food industry. With new regulations, companies should stay on top of the latest changes that could impact production and profits.

The FDA recently requested $4.9 billion in the Obama administration’s 2016 fiscal budget to follow through with the provisions listed in the Food Safety and Modernization Act, Food Business News reported. This sweeping reputation calls for food producers to consider production, handling and other risks that could endanger consumer safety.

“This budget accurately reflects the challenges[missing word] FDA faces in a global regulatory environment, which is becoming increasingly complex and scientifically demanding,” said FDA Commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, who recently announced she would step down from her position.

Hamburg implored the administration fund more resources to implement the FSMA and help maintain a safe food supply.

Increase in budget to improve producer education

Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said the FDA will receive $27.5 million for FSMA this year. This amount increased to $109 million for FSMA in 2016.

Much of the money allocated to the FDA for FSMA is expected to go toward hiring experts in food safety to create guidance documents.

“FDA will be issuing guidance documents that will be essential to helping industry meet FSMA requirements,” Taylor said in a statement. “Funds are needed now for FDA to recruit additional experts who can ensure that guidance development is based on the best science and knowledge of industry practices.”

New regulation could shift recall power to FSIS

In addition to the FDA seeking out more funding to help food producers comply with food safety guidelines, companies could feel more regulatory pressure after New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibran introduced a bill that could allow the Food Safety and Inspection Service to recall food, Food Safety Magazine reported. The bill would give the power to the Secretary of Agriculture to issue a recall, as well.

Currently, the FSIS, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is unable to issue mandatory food recalls.

While food producers carefully control the risks of foreign contamination during the production process, there is the risk that metal and other unwanted items could enter the food supply, prompting recalls. In January, a meat producer recalled 48,000 pounds of beef and pork after the producer said a customer found a metal fragment in a beef product. The USDA said the company shipped the products to several states, including Illinois, where a customer found a piece of steel wire.
Metal inclusion is a significant potential risk for consumers in case they ingest these contaminants, according to the FDA.

With this new legislation, producers should take this time to improve their food safety procedures. Since there is a chance that consumers could harm themselves eating a piece of contaminated food, producers should ensure they are investing in metal detection equipment to find metal fragments. Through increasing the number of food safety equipment on site, companies can enhance their defenses for contaminants and improve consumer safety.

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