As the coronavirus Covid-19 spreads further across the globe, its affect on the global food supply chain is, as yet, largely unfelt. However, February was not a quiet month elsewhere with significant news concerning the estimates of foodborne illness in the UK, UK trade post Brexit with the USA, FDA publishing final draft guidance on Intentional Adulteration and announcing laboratory accreditation programs, and much more.
Each of these stories and more from around the world concerning key food safety news are included in this month’s video industry round-up and transcript below with sources for further reading.
In the aftermath of Brexit, the UK has started to explore potential trade deals during its transition period as it separates from the EU.
Despite pressure from the EU on the matter being one of the key aspects of new trade talks, the new UK Environment Minister has refused to rule out laws that prohibit the import of US chlorine-washed chicken despite objections from the British Poultry Council.
Elsewhere, a memorandum of understanding was signed ahead of trade negotiations by the North American Meat Institute and the British Meat Processors Association. The memorandum will last until 31st January 2021 and the organisations will share information with a goal to address common regulatory, scientific, trade, legislative and public affairs issues and challenges.
CBD food decision made by Food Standards Agency
In the UK, the CBD industry has been given a deadline of March 31st 2021 to submit valid novel food authorisation applications.
In providing the deadline, it has said that only products which have submitted a valid application will be allowed to remain on the market after this period. While making the announcement the UK Food Standards Agency has also advised those that are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking medication not to consume CBD products and limits for health adults of 70 micrograms a day.
This precautionary advice is based on recent findings by the government’s Committee on Toxicity.
Food responsible for 2.4m illnesses per year
The UK Food Standards Agency have revealed that the number of foodborne illnesses in the UK is estimated to be around 2.4m, up from the 1m previously estimated in 2009.
The FSA says the new figure provides a better estimation for the proportion of infectious intestinal disease due to food but did not represent an increase in total illness or any risks to public health.
New survey sheds light on food safety perceptions in pre-accession countries
The European Food Safety Authority have added to its Eurobarometer report on food safety in the EU by including results from 5 of the 7 EU pre-accession countries. The insights from Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey will be added to those collected from EU Member States last year which examine public perception on food and feed safety.
FDA issues final draft guidance to help businesses find and eliminate tampering
The FDA released draft guidance for the final installment for businesses to deal with intentional adulteration.
The guidance includes chapters on food defense corrective actions, food defense verification, reanalysis and record-keeping, as well as assessment steps for companies to determine whether they are small or very small operators to understand if they are exempt from FSMA regulations.
A link to the updated guidance is available in the transcript of this video.
FDA promises laboratory accreditation program by 2022
The FDA will establish a laboratory accreditation program following the settlement of a lawsuit with the Center for Food Safety concerning the FDA’s previous commitment to start the program by January 2013. The new program will commence before February 2022.
Enforcement report shows uptick during USDA’s first-quarter
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service started its fiscal year 2020 on October 1st, 2019 and between then and December 31st, conducted over 1 million 750 thousand inspection procedures.
Having found just over 25,000 instances of non-compliance, meaning a compliance rate of 98.6%.
The quarterly enforcement report also revealed that livestock and poultry slaughterhouses are at peak levels since 2017. A link to the full report is available in the transcript for further reading.
Brazilian beef welcomed back into the USA
The USDA and Food Safety and Inspection Service have re-opened the door to accepting Brazilian beef following a 20-month suspension.
The ban was lifted on February 21st and Brazilian beef that is slaughtered on or after this date is eligible for export to the US.
FSANZ wants comments on planned produce rules
As part of its broader review of the Food Standards Code, Food Standards Australia New Zealand has announced it will consider whether high-horticulture products such as sprouts and minimally processed fruits and vegetables require a primary production and processing standard to be developed. Currently, they are seeking comments on the matter, which can be made until March 18th.