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FDA Reports Food Protection Plan Progress

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, December 01, 2008 12:44 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Food Safety, Food Protection Plan, Protecting Your Family, E. Coli, Food-Borne Illness, Salmonella, Food Poisoning

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IMAGE SOURCE:© Wikimedia Commons / U.S. Food and Drug Administration logo / author: David Vasquez

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released details about its Food Protection Plan, which was launched last year to protect domestic and imported food from accidental and intentional contamination.

The Plan, which outlines strategies for prevention, intervention and response, was designed to address food safety and food defense for domestic and imported products and encourages the building of safety into every step of the food supply chain.

Below are some highlights (the full one year progress report can viewed here) of the agency’s accomplishments in implementing the Food Protection Plan’s three core strategies - The prevention of outbreaks of food-borne disease, intervention and response if they occur:

Prevention:

The FDA is assembling offices in five regions that export food and other FDA-regulated products into the United States: China, Europe, India, Latin America and the Middle East.

The agency held a meeting with more than 200 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial partners to address the challenges of protecting the nation’s food supply.

The FDA is hiring an International Notification Coordinator to manage enhanced information exchanges between the agency and foreign counterpart regulatory authorities.

Irradiation of iceberg lettuce and spinach for the control of food-borne bacteria's and other pathogens (such as E. coli and Salmonella).

Methods to detect melamine and cyanuric acid in feed and feed ingredients were also developed.

Refer to the One-Year Summary of Progress for a complete list.

Intervention:

During the Fiscal Year of 2008, the agency completed inspections of nearly 6,000 high-risk domestic food establishments.

The FDA issued “Draft Guidance for Industry on Voluntary Third-Party Certification Programs for Food and Feed. Docket FDA-2008-D-038 is available at Regulations.gov.

A rapid detection method to identify Salmonella and E. coli in food is now in use in poultry-processing facilities to detect and prevent bacterial contamination during food processing.

An expanded database of adverse drug events to include adverse feed events will allow the agency to respond faster to outbreaks of foodborne disease in animals, contamination episodes and/or product defects.

Jointly, the FDA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a final rule on Prior Notice of Imported Food Shipments, and an accompanying Compliance Policy Guide (CPG) on October 31, 2008; the rule and CPG were published in the Federal Register on November 7, 2008.

Refer to the One-Year Summary of Progress for a complete list.

Response:

The FDA is working with the public and industry to determine best practices for tracing fresh food throughout the supply chain.

Two emergency/complaint-response coordinators have been hired by the agency to improve emergency response times that involve animal feed, including pet foods.

The FDA has signed cooperative agreements with six U.S. states to form a Rapid Response Team to develop, exercise, implement and integrate an all-hazards response capability for food and foodborne illness responses, to react faster to potential threats in our food supply.

During the outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul in the summer of 2008, the FDA held regular briefing calls for consumer organizations and regularly updated a Web page that provided information on the progress of the investigation, which included advising consumers how they could protect themselves and family members.

The entire One-Year Summary of Progress under the Food Protection Plan can be found on the FDA’s Web site.

The Food Protection Plan complements the Action Plan on Import Safety unveiled last year to improve the safety of all imported products. #


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