Tech Flash Vol 7, No. 1 -- Food Engineering's E-Newsletter
President Obama signs food safety bill into law
“The historic legislation directs the Food and Drug Administration, working with a wide range of public and private partners, to build a new system of food safety oversight-one focused on applying, more comprehensively than ever, the best available science and good common sense to prevent the problems that can make people sick,” says Margaret A. Hamburg, FDA commissioner.
“This is a historic victory for consumers, who can now look forward to a future of safer food,” adds Caroline Smith DeWaal, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) food safety director. “For too long, the FDA has been in reactive mode, chasing down contaminated food after people are already sick with E. coli, Salmonella or other dangerous pathogens. Now, by incorporating modern scientific and legal tools, the FDA will put the horse before the cart, requiring food manufacturers and farmers to implement plans aimed at preventing contaminated products. This is the most important food safety advance in 70 years.”
Processors of all types of food will now be required to evaluate the hazards in their operations, implement and monitor effective measures to prevent contamination, and have a plan in place to take any corrective actions that are necessary, says Hamburg. Also, FDA will have much more effective enforcement tools for ensuring those plans are adequate and properly implemented, including mandatory recall authority when needed to remove contaminated food quickly from the market.
“Soon parents should be able to shop without worrying that the spinach, tomatoes, peanut butter or eggs in their cart are going to cause illness and misery,” says Michael F. Jacobson, CSPI executive director. The new law will give consumers greater confidence that the food they purchase comes from farms and facilities that follow good food safety practices, and that FDA inspectors can help verify processors are adhering to those practices, says Jacobson.The legislation also enhances FDA’s ability to oversee the millions of food products that are imported into the
Food Safety Act may never become reality
FDA launches website to help regulated industries save time, resources
“Clarity and consistency are pillars of an effective regulatory system that efficiently regulates products essential to health,” says FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “In order to succeed, the FDA must clearly communicate standards and expectations to the industries it regulates.”
Part of the agency’s ongoing transparency initiative, the site is one of the 19 action items contained in a 46-page report titled FDA Transparency Initiative: Improving Transparency to Regulated Industry. Other action items include:
- Setting an agency-wide expectation that e-mail questions to the FDA involving the regulatory process will, whenever possible, receive an answer within five business days, or a response stating when an answer can be expected.
- Making agency presentations at key meetings widely available.
- Developing and executing a project to promote uniform processes and procedures across field districts.
“We have heard from small and large companies about the need for the FDA to more clearly communicate about its standards and expectations-both for regulated products generally and for specific applications,” says Principal Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein, MD, chairman of the agency’s Transparency Task Force.
The report also contains five draft proposals to improve FDA’s transparency to regulated industry. The draft proposals, available for public comment for 60 days, include publishing a timeline on the FDA website for high-priority guidance documents in development. The FDA would disclose dates for publication of the draft guidance, receipt of public comments and publication of the final guidance.Commissioner Hamburg launched the FDA’s Transparency Initiative in June 2009 in response to President Obama’s commitment to openness in government and steps taken by the US Department of Health and Human Services to make transparency a priority.
Label-change costs higher than thought
Innovation is central to any successful strategy to anticipate and meet changing consumer demands. Accordingly, the research among Campden’s member food and beverage processors found that major drivers for label changes include voluntary redesign (36 percent), re-launch (21 percent), reformulation (10 percent) and new product launches (11 percent). Typically, the mean cost of a label change for re-launch was reported to be $4,550, and voluntary redesign averaged $6,850.
Furthermore, the absence of any significant generic changes in food labeling legislation during the past 25 months (the approximate average reported frequency of label change) may substantially explain why legislatively driven changes were apparently much less common.
The report covers both direct and indirect costs of labeling foods and beverages. For example, direct costs include lithography and flexography and specific language and label requirements for exports. Indirect costs include labeling lifecycle and implementation time, product testing or related investigation, marketing costs, travel and additional design charges and various supply chain costs.Legislation sets requirements for food labels in the
Defining the Food Safety Modernization Act
Plant security: Access granted
Automated data collection: Rapid reporting on demand
Poultry processing: Tender birds, tougher challenges
Tech Update: Non-thermal processing
People, Plant and Industry News
Darling International Inc., a provider of rendering, recycling and recovery solutions to the food industry, completed its merger with Griffin Industries, an independent, privately owned rendering, bakery by-product and used cooking oil recycling company.
Berlin Packaging acquired Chicago-based Continental Packaging Solutions.
GE Intelligent Platforms completed the acquisition of SmartSignal, a privately held, analytics software company located in Lisle, IL.
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. completed the acquisition of TKA Wasseraufbereitungssysteme GmbH, a European provider of laboratory water purification systems.
JBT Corporation’s JBT FoodTech business signed a contract valued at $4 million with Malaysia-based PML Dairies.
SPX Corporation’s Flow Technology segment was awarded a contract valued at more than $15 million to custom design, manufacture and install process equipment for a new dairy products factory for PANAGRO, a prominent food company in
Lawson Software will acquire Enwisen, a software-as-a-service provider of human resource service delivery solutions.
Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing achieved 200,000 consecutive hours (representing 1,000 workdays) without a recordable accident, according to OSHA.