Written by Faith Anderson on September 8, 2011
The FDA and the Institute of Food Technologists
The FDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is responsible for protecting the public health by taking the following measures: assuring the safety, effectiveness and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The FDA is also responsible for the safety and security of the U.S. food supply, cosmetics, products that emit electronic radiation, dietary supplements, and for regulating tobacco products.
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a nonprofit scientific society consisting of professionals engaged in food technology, food science and related professions, will carry out the pilot programs under the direction of the FDA, according to an existing FDA contract. The Food Safety Modernization Act requires the FDA to institute at least two pilot projects, one involving processed foods and one involving produce. The law was signed in January, and directs the FDA to establish recordkeeping requirements for high-risk foods to help in tracing products.
FDA Pilots to More Easily Trace High-Risk Foods
Key stakeholder groups, including government, industry and consumers, will have input into the pilot programs, and efforts will be made to include those representing the different points of the food supply chain, such as farms, grocery stores and restaurants. After the pilots are completed and additional data is gathered, the FDA will initiate regulations for recordkeeping requirements for high-risk foods in order to facilitate tracing. The FDA must define high-risk foods by considering factors like the known risks of a food based on foodborne illness data, the likelihood that a particular food has a high potential risk for contamination, and the likely severity of an illness associated with a particular food.