Friday, September 25, 2015

New Laws, Safer Foods

Since 2011, when President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act into law, both the
food industry and the world waited for a glimpse of the final regulations. Following numerous revisions and delays throughout the years, the FDA released the first two of seven proposed rules this month. The last five should be finalized and released by the end of 2016.

Less Food Recalls
First, food processors will be required to have plans in place to improve sanitation procedures and recognize hazards in the food production process.  These plans will greatly reduce or eliminate the chance of a food recall. Reacting to recalls will be a memory of the past as a heavy focus will be on avoiding them in the first place. Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner, stated “The food safety problems we face have one thing in common-they are largely preventable.”  Destroying bacteria and properly handling allergens will be at the forefront of most new food safety systems.

Food Safety & Animals
Not only will humans experience safer food, but so will our pets as stated in the Preventative Controls for Animal Food rule. If processes are in place to eliminate harmful bacteria in pet food, then those who handle that food will also be safer. The FDA expects fewer illnesses in humans and fewer animal deaths to be a result of this.

Healthier Eating
Eating healthier will go hand in hand with eating safer food. Farms, unlike food processing facilities, are open system environments and are susceptible to different hazards. While growing conditions and methods may vary from region to region, similar dangers may remain. Worker hygiene, water standards, compost quality, and overall sanitation conditions affect any crop going to market. It is anticipated that this particular proposed rule would prevent hundreds of thousands of illnesses each year.

A Closer Eye on Imports
The United States imports about 15% of our food supply. This includes 80% of seafood, nearly 50% of fresh fruit, and 20% of our fresh vegetables. Once finalized, the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) will strictly regulate the safety of food imports. According to Senior Policy Advisor, Brian Pendleton, “The FSVP rule, when finalized, will require importers to assume greater responsibility to verify that the foods they import into the US meet the same safety standards required of domestic producers.”

Once the Food Safety Modernization acted is fully implemented, consumers will feel more confident about the safety of the food they consume. As food processors change their focus from recalling tainted products to preventing outbreaks in the first place, results will be quickly seen. The number of hazards encountered in the food system will be identified and controlled.

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