Apr 23, 2013
Federal judge orders FDA to reset deadlines for Food Safety Act rules
A federal judge in California has called on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set new and "achievable" deadlines for implementing regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), after the agency missed deadlines written into the law, according to a Food Safety News (FSN) report today. US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland scolded the FDA for admittedly missing the deadlines, which she said turned out to be unachievable, FSN reported. "Endless delay does not serve the purpose of the FSMA," she added. Her decision came in a lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety, which had sued the FDA to force release of FSMA rules by the White House Office of Management and Budget, which held them up for all of 2012. Not until the rules were released earlier this year was it revealed that the White House had "scaled them back considerably," the story said. The FDA has not said whether it will appeal the order to set new deadlines, FSN reported.
Apr 23 FSN story
Foodborne hospitalization analysis puts ground beef, chicken as top risks
An analysis of hospitalization rates in foodborne outbreaks over the past 12 years found that ground beef and chicken are the riskiest meats, according a 25-page report today from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a health and food safety watchdog group based in Washington, D.C.. The CSPI ranked 12 categories of meat and poultry based on the likelihood of hospitalizations linked to the most common pathogens reported in the foods. Ground beef topped the list, because Escherichia coli O157:H7 hospitalizes about half of those it infects, the CSPI said in a press release. Caroline Smith DeWaal, the CPSI's food safety director, said that a quarter of those sickened with Salmonella are hospitalized. Steaks were rated as high risk, because some of the products are mechanically tenderized, and the blades or needles can drive an organism into the interior of the meat. Products that made the low-risk category include chicken nuggets, ham, and sausage.
Apr 23 CSPI press release
In an industry response to today's report, James Hodges, president of the American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation said in a statement that a broader analysis of the total food supply would have been more meaningful from a food safety risk perspective. He said seafood, poultry, and beef are showing steeper declines in foodborne illness outbreaks than other food categories. He agreed with CSPI, however, that better food attribution data are needed to understand what causes outbreaks and how to prevent them.
Apr 23 AMI press release