With lockdowns easing globally most public-facing businesses have reopened in partial or full capacities depending on the local legislation.
It is now apparent that the food industry has been considerably affected from these events and will likely face effects and learnings from this event in the coming months and years.
During the month of June, there were updates from the FDA concerning the delay and change in scope of the blueprint for the ‘New Era of Smarter Food Safety’ in response to lessons learned from the pandemic, which, when determined, may have a long-lasting effect on industry in the US, as well as significant updates from around the globe including legislation changes in the UK, food safety in China and Australia, and European pig welfare concerns.
Read on for more.
FDA delay publication of blueprint for ‘New Era of Smarter Food Safety’
At the beginning of the month, the FDA announced that plans for the blueprint of the ‘New Era of Smarter Food Safety’ had been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The FDA has revised elements of the blueprint due to lessons learned from the pandemic and it still hopes to publish its findings in the coming weeks which will look at ways of creating a more digital, traceable, and safer food system over the next decade and beyond.
UK: Allergen guidance update from FSA
New technical guidance for allergen labeling requirements in the UK will come into effect from 1st October, 2021.
The changes as a result of ‘Natasha’s Law’ and are applicable to food sold prepacked for direct sale, i.e., where it is packaged on-site by a business prior to being ordered by a customer.
FSA expands scope on identifying new risk analysis methods
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has released the results of a report on appropriate risk analysis methods for hazards identified in the supply chain.
The report was created to provide guidance on the UK taking ownership of risk assessments from the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority following Brexit.
The FSA will now distinguish more between risk assessment and risk management, double the size of its Risk Assessment Unit, grow each of the four Scientific Advisory Committees and create three new Joint Expert Groups for food contact materials; regulated products such as additives and enzymes; and one for animal feed and feed additives.
CBD consortium created in the UK ahead of Novel Foods deadline
In the UK the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) has announced it will create and lead a consortium to assess the safety of CBD in order to recommend an appropriate daily dose ahead of the UK FSA’s deadline for CBD products to have a validated novel foods application by March 31st, 2021.
This consortium will examine potential side effects and downsides of CBD products, vulnerable groups, and the differences in methods of delivery, such as ingestion, inhalation, and absorption.
China releases report of food safety challenges and findings for 2019
China’s National Food Safety Inspections revealed its main food safety challenges for 2019 were microbial contamination, excessive food additives, and excessive drug residues.
The announcement comes from analyzing results from more than 244,000 random batch tests covering 33 categories.
The NFS reported an overall pass rate of 97.6% for more than 558 indicators, which was the same as in 2018.
Meat products (97%), processed foods (98.8%), edible oil (98.9%), egg products (99.5%), dairy products (99.7%) and infant formula (99.8%) were among the highest pass rates, while chilled beverages and bee products were among the highest fail rates with 6.1% and 5.7% of samples, respectively.
EFSA determine staff issues behind most pig welfare queries
The European Food Safety Authority has released a scientific opinion that attributed most pig welfare concerns to staff issues.
The release of the opinion follows a previous issuance on poultry and comes ahead of one for the beef sector due later this year.
Most of the failings in the process were attributed to stunning and bleeding and attributed due to staff failings such as inadequate training and fatigue among employees.
EFSA reject selenite triglyceride in food supplements for safety concerns
EFSA has rejected the use of selenite triglycerides in food supplements as its chemical source of selenium (Se) cannot be established.
This decision means it should be treated as a xenobiotic with unknown priorities when ingested or absorbed into the body.
The decision considered studies that did not reflect potential dietary intake as higher tier toxicity studies were not provided.
Campylobacter and Salmonella decline in Australia
Campylobacter and Salmonella infection rates decreased by almost half year-on-year in Australia.
The decrease has been attributed to measures imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic with increased sanitation measures being followed and less bulk catering occurring due to lockdowns and restrictions.
Figures reported from the Australian Department of Health’s National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System are:
|Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC)||2019||2020|
Elsewhere, similar trends were reported in Finland where there was a decrease of more than 4x year on year in food outbreaks between March and May.
In Europe, figures decreased in April, however, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control expects that activity returned to normal in May.