Processes and data-driven technology are protecting your food from contamination and adulteration

In the United States alone, food travels on average 1,300 miles from farm to fork, with 33% of produce and 80% of seafood imported from other countries. Food products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are processed by more than 300,000 different facilities in over 150 different countries. The complexity of this supply chain means that food can travel around the world in the custody of multiple agents along the way, with variations in documentation and processing resulting in loss of critical information about food authenticity and origin or even loss of the food itself. Approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost from the global supply chain annually without any understanding of where it goes. Traceability and authenticity in such a complex supply chain are therefore extremely difficult to manage, especially when consumers are increasingly concerned about those assurances, as well as about additional elements like sustainability and genetically modified … Read more...

Lessons in EHS History: Salmonella and the Food Industry

We all know that the effects of salmonella poisoning are not pleasant: infected persons usually suffer from diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that begin 12 to 72 hours after exposure and symptoms will last anywhere from four to seven days. In the case of vulnerable people, such as children or the elderly, the symptoms can be far more serious and can even lead to death.

Salmonella has certainly been a hot topic in the news lately in the United States and around the world, but how well do you understand where it comes from, how the food industry combats this threat, and how you can protect yourself?

The Origins of Salmonella

Dr. Daniel E. Salmon, an American veterinary scientist, is credited with discovering the first strain of salmonella in 1885 (in fact, it was his research assistant, Theobald Smith). Simply put, salmonella is a bacterium that causes intestinal infection. So … Read more...

What you need to know about the Food Safety Modernization Act

The world of EHS legislation, regulations and issues can be confusing at best sometimes, so it helps to have a little bit of clarity. That’s why EHS This Week is launching EHS In Depth, a new interview series designed to look at the fundamentals of a particular EHS issue.

This week we’re tackling a big one: the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) a huge piece of legislation that will revolutionize how companies in the food and beverage industry go about their business. In our inaugural broadcast I’ve invited industry specialist Jeremy Mawson to answer some key questions, including:

  • What the legislation means to companies in the food and beverage industry.
  • Where regulators are at in terms of rolling out the new rules.
  • What kind of costs FSMA will mean to American businesses, and more.

Don’t forget to write me at with any suggestions you have for future areas of discussion, and tune in to … Read more...

FDA offers helping hand in FSMA compliance

As any American food producer knows, the landscape of food safety is changing.

Back in January, President Barack Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law. The act, a sweeping bill with the most significant changes to food safety in nearly 70 years, will affect thousands of food producers across the U.S. and, in light of some new stringent rules related to imports, around the world as well.

Specific requirements of the act have trickling out of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) throughout the year, including mandatory recall powers for the FDA, increased protection for whistleblowers, the ability to hold products that may be mislabeled, and more.

But the full scope of the rulemaking that follow the FSMA will only be known as the act is implemented over the course of the next year.

However, businesses who want up-to-the-minute news on implementation progress ought to head to … Read more...

First FSMA rules in effect July 3. Are you ready?

Earlier this week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the first set of rules under the landmark Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), legislation signed earlier this year which gives the FDA sweeping powers to prevent food safety disasters.

The two new rules, which take effect July 3, are pretty logical preventive measures that, in all fairness, probably should have been implemented a long time ago. The new rules are as follows:

  • Order on Administration Detention of Food: The first new rule gives the FDA the authority to hold food products that may be contaminated or mislabeled. Before now, the administration only had the right to detain food when it had sufficient evidence it was mislabeled or contaminated, thereby presenting a threat to humans or animals. Now if the FDA even suspects contamination or mislabeling, it can detain the product.
  • Rule on Imported Food:  Organizations importing food now have

U.S. Senate prepares to modernize food safety legislation

Now that the U.S. Senate has reconvened after a month-long recess during which large-scale salmonella-related egg recalls made headlines across the country, food safety reform is back on the top of the agenda.

The Senate is currently reviewing S. 510, a food safety bill that would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) significant powers of oversight and regulation on the growing and production of food. 

And it might be about time for this kind of reform. Not only have 85 food recalls occurred in the U.S.—not to mention this summer’s massive egg recall as well as other salmonella- and listeria-based recalls—since the House of Representatives passed a similar bill about a year ago, S. 510 is the first large piece of legislation to address food safety in more than 70 years.

In fact, currently the FDA doesn’t even really have the power to hold food growers and producers accountable … Read more...