FOOD SAFETY SCAN: FDA seeks comments on food traceability report, BSE rule

Mar 5, 2013

FDA releases food traceability report for comment
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking feedback on a lengthy food traceability report, it announced yesterday. The 334-page traceability report, which was mandated by the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, was created by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago based on two pilot projects and other research begun in 2011. It concludes that several areas, such as industry standardization, improved recordkeeping, and better use of technology would enable trace-backs and trace-forwards to occur more rapidly when a foodborne illness outbreak occurs. Recommendations to the FDA include establishing uniform recordkeeping requirements with no allowance for exemptions, requiring all members of food supply chains to implement a product-tracing plan, establishing electronic tracking of product-tracing data, and coordinating trace-back investigations and response protocols among state and local health officials. After conducting 14 trace-back/trace-forward exercises in the pilot programs, IFT determined that costs varied depending on the size of the company or facility, the methods used, and other factors. In a Federal Register notice today, the FDA said the comment period closes on Apr 4.
Mar 4 FDA announcement of the report
Full report (5.6 MB file)
Mar 5 Federal Register notice

FDA reopens comment period on BSE risk in using small intestines of cattle
In a separate notice yesterday, the FDA said it is reopening the comment period for a rule on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or "mad cow" disease) because of new published data. In 2005 the FDA amended an interim final rule, "Use of Materials Derived from Cattle in Human Food and Cosmetics," to permit the use of the small intestine of cattle, which was formerly prohibited, in human food and cosmetics if the distal ileum was removed. The rule was finalized in 2007. Since then, however, at least five peer-reviewed studies have shown some infectivity in the proximal ileum, jejunum, ileocecal junction, and colon of cattle with BSE, albeit at low levels. The FDA evaluated those studies as well as two reports from a European safety commission and concluded that the BSE risk of using the small intestine of cattle is low, but the agency is welcoming feedback on the decision and on the new studies. The comment period is open till May 3, according to a Federal Register notice yesterday.
Mar 4 FDA announcement of the BSE comment period
Mar 4 Federal Register notice

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