This month the FDA made significant advancements to mitigate future leafy green recalls, increase the safety of baby food, and bring increased awareness to its New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint.
Although a relatively quiet month elsewhere, these and other important updates from around the world are included below.
FDA action plan for baby foods
The FDA revealed a new plan intended to reduce the level of toxic elements in food intended for babies, toddlers, and young children.
This plan identifies actions the agency will take to reduce the levels of harmful elements such as arsenic and lead in food to those groups which are more at risk to their presence, through a four-stage cycle of continual improvement.
These cycles will start in phases beginning in April 2021, 2022, and 2024.
FDA advancing the safety of leafy greens
The FDA announced measures to advancing the safety of leafy greens with the publication of a report of its investigation into the Fall 2020 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak and a set of recommendations including growers should implement root cause analyses to assist in determining how the contamination occurred, and how to implement appropriate prevention and verification measures.
The FDA has also updated its Leafy Green STEC Action Plan, released last year, to include a renewed emphasis on actions it outlines, as well as a commitment to completing certain actions that were affected in 2020 due to challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
FDA launch podcast for New Era of Smarter Food Safety
The FDA has announced a new quarterly podcast series that will focus on different aspects of the Core Elements in the New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint.
The podcast will be hosted by the FDA and include expert opinions which will “discuss current and emerging technologies and solutions… and explore how they may facilitate and enhance food safety”
The first episode focusing on tech-enabled Traceability and how the FDA can assist in facilitating the uptake of these technologies among those in the food industry.
US declares sesame as an allergen
President Biden has signed a new food allergy labeling bill into law which will require sesame to be labelled on all packaged foods, from January 1st, 2023.
The bill expands the definition of allergens and as such, sesame is now the ninth major food allergen in the United States, joining peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, dairy, eggs, and wheat.
FAO report highlights possible food safety issues with edible insects
In a new report focusing on edible insects from a food safety perspective, the United Nation’s FAO have warned that their benefits must be considered against potential food safety issues.
The report considers that changing manufacturing practices which will be required to make production and uptake of edible insects more popular in territories where it is not, may introduce risks and likelihood of hazards.
Further concerns are also expressed on how edible insects are currently legislated for in these territories, the potential for food fraud, allergens, and a potential risk associated with a sensitization that is being identified to as of yet unidentified allergens from insects.
Swedish source of histamine outbreak revealed
The source of a histamine outbreak in Sweden earlier this month has been sourced to fish imported from Vietnam.
The outbreak affected 19 people in total.