FDA Holds Public Meeting on “A New Era of Smarter Food Safety” to Further FSMA Implementation

On October 21, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public meeting to engage stakeholders on the agency’s initiative, “A New Era of Smarter Food Safety,” to build on the advances that have been and are being made in FDA’s implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FDA will use input from the meeting and written comments to the docket to develop its “Blueprint for a New Era of Smarter Food Safety,” which the agency plans to release in early 2020. The blueprint will outline the agency’s vision for a modern approach to food safety that includes technology-enabled traceability and the use of predictive analytic tools to assess risk and set agency priorities. FDA has opened a docket for written comments, which are due by November 20.   The link below will allow you to download a memorandum regarding the meeting from Hogan Lovells, IBWA’s outside counsel. The memo includes the specific questions in which FDA has requested input and are included as an appendix to the memo. The meeting summary provides insight into FDA’s current thinking on these issues. The memo also provides a high-level summary of the agency statements and stakeholder comments made during the meeting. There are four priority areas that will be the focus of FDA’s efforts:Tech-Enabled Traceability and Foodborne Outbreak Response: Looking at technologies, data streams, and processes that will greatly reduce the time it takes to track and trace the origin of a contaminated food and respond to public health risks. Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention: Enhancing the use of new knowledge from traceback, data streams, and other tools for rapidly analyzing data. The ability to use new data analysis tools and predictive analytics will help FDA and stakeholders better identify and mitigate potential food safety risks and advance the preventive controls framework that FSMA established. Adapting to New Business Models and Retail Food Safety Modernization: Advancing the safety of both new business models, such as e-commerce and home delivery of foods, and traditional business models, such as retail food establishments. Food Safety Culture: Promoting and recognizing the role of food safety culture on farms and in facilities. This involves doing more to influence what employees and companies think about food safety and how they demonstrate a commitment to this work. Strengthening food safety cultures also extends to the home and FDA is working to educate consumers on safe food handling practices. 

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