WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Food and Drug Administration has released more info about the presence of toxic elements, such as arsenic, mercury, cadmium and lead, food for children. Last week, it announced new actions aimed at further preventing or reducing chemical hazards that may be present in foods for babies and young children.
On Friday, FDA issued a letter to industry, reminding manufacturers of these types of foods of their existing responsibilities related to these efforts. Secondly, the agency is announcing that it will soon be putting into action a plan aimed at reducing toxic elements in foods for babies and young children to levels as low as is reasonably achievable.
As parents and caregivers themselves, FDA said it recognized and understood concerns about toxic elements and how they could impact the health of children. It shared the public’s concerns for the health of America’s children, and wanted to reassure parents and caregivers that at the levels found through its testing, children are not at an immediate health risk from exposure to toxic elements in foods. The FDA routinely monitors levels of toxic elements in food, and if it finds that they pose a health risk, the FDA takes steps to remove those foods from the market. Research has shown that reducing exposure to toxic elements is important to minimizing any potential long-term effects on the developing brains of infants and children. A report released last month by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy also highlighted important questions on what more can be done to reduce toxic elements in baby food.
The FDA issued a letter to manufacturers of foods for babies and young children covered by the preventive control provisions of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food rule, as well as persons covered under other rules requiring a hazard analysis. The letter reminds them of their existing responsibility to consider risks from chemical hazards, including toxic elements, when conducting a hazard analysis, including for products for babies and young children. The preventive control provisions require industry to implement controls to significantly minimize or prevent any identified chemical hazards requiring a control. For example, some manufacturers may conduct verification activities like testing the final product. Ultimately, FDA wants consumers to be reassured that manufacturers of foods for babies and young children have a legal responsibility under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to ensure the safety of their products.
To build on FDA's ongoing work with regulated industry in this area, it intends to address the following areas:
- Issuing guidance to identify action levels for contaminants in key foods, with plans to revisit those levels on a regular basis and lower them if appropriate, as well as providing guidance to industry on how to meet their obligations under current regulations
- Increasing inspections and, as appropriate, taking compliance and enforcement actions
- Boosting sampling of foods for babies and young children, including sharing results
- Working with government, academia and industry to support research and development of additional safety information on toxic elements in foods for babies and young children and additional steps that industry can take to further reduce levels
FDA said its new activities will further efforts that the agency has continued to take in this area, including work in 2020 to finalize an action level for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal. It will be working to develop additional action levels, finalize its draft guidance on reducing inorganic arsenic in apple juice and publish a draft guidance that will establish action levels for lead in juices. FDA said these activities, along with an increase in sampling and reporting, will help continue to drive down levels of toxic elements in foods.
Here’s a look at articles and other resources for the week of March 1 highlighted by the QA staff
While the March 9-12 conference is focused on consumers, there’s plenty for food safety professionals as well, says co-chair Steven Mandernach.
The remote events will bring together more than 500 food industry leaders, government representatives IGOs and food industry stakeholders from more than 60 countries.
The info comes from the latest report on zoonotic diseases by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
With enhanced detection capability, the system has a smaller footprint, said Prospection Solutions.
Colleen O’Rourke will fill the newly created position at the Westfield, Ind., company.
BONUS LONG READ
PARIS — The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), part of The Consumer Goods Forum and a network that aims to help achieve safe food for people everywhere, is encouraging food safety professionals around the globe to join the virtual annual GFSI Conference from March 23-25.
The interactive three-day forum, now in its 20th year, is gearing up to convene hundreds of experts, decision makers and innovators from more than 60 countries to share food safety best practices and encourage ongoing collaboration and action. Following an unprecedented 12 months for the food and beverage industry, this year’s theme is "Rethink, Reset, Recharge."
Attendees will hear examples of leadership, ingenuity and innovation, with expert speakers providing insights to address common challenges — helping to achieve the shared goal of safe food for consumers around the world. Senior leaders and experts from Amazon, HelloFresh, Coca-Cola, Mars, Cargill, Target, PepsiCo, Walmart, Queen’s University Belfast, Georgia University of Technology and the World Health Organization (WHO) are among those delivering talks and presentations.
The conference will explore the most urgent topics in food safety — from COVID-19, supply chain disruption and public health, to building trust and transparency with consumers, as well as best practices, leading innovations and technologies set to shape the future food safety. The wide-ranging speakers include experts and academics, CEOs, public authorities, industry leaders, innovators and grassroots professionals.
“Collaboration to ensure safe food for consumers everywhere and sustainable food systems has never been more critical — and this event provides a major opportunity to learn from an unprecedented period and move forwards in the best possible way," Erica Sheward, director of the GFSI, said. "We’re excited by the chance to help colleagues across the industry build on the ingenuity, resilience and dedication shown by the food industry over the past 12 months.
“With the conference taking place virtually for the first time, it’s easier than ever before for food industry professionals to get involved — and we’re urging people from all corners of the globe to ensure they’re part of this unique and collaborative forum. Food safety is everyone’s business, and we must continue to work together to build consumers’ trust in the food they buy.”
GFSI has set up bespoke online networking features to ensure attendees can establish new connections across the global community and strengthen existing relationships.
As part of the interactive conference experience, attendees will be able to create personalized virtual versions of themselves, which they can move around a 3D immersive site to meet and mingle with others — no matter where they are in the world.
Highlight sessions and speakers across the three-day program include:
- Leading in times of crisis with Dirk van de Put, chairman and CEO, Mondelēz International
- The evolution of e-commerce: How COVID-19 has impacted food safety operations — including insights from Amazon’s head of food safety EMEA
- COVID-19, public health and food safety: A call for leadership and resilience — with the assistant director-general of UHC/healthier populations at the WHO
- The frontier of food safety: new science, discoveries and innovations — with Mars
- Doing the right thing: Food Safety Trust and Transparency — with the director general of consumers international and the University of Oxford
- Auditing tomorrow with Yunling Zheng from Cargill
- Keynote speech from Dr. Andrew Steele, scientist and author of "Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old"
This year’s event also includes all-new sessions such as Ask GFSI Q&A panels on the final day — giving attendees the chance to put a wide range of topics directly to the GFSI leadership to hear their views on key issues.
WESTFIELD, Ind. — Insects Limited recently welcomed Colleen O’Rourke to its team in the newly created position of account manager.
“The success and growth we have seen in recent years has allowed us this opportunity to add a resource person to the sales team whose sole focus will be to provide our valued distributors with the assets they need to be successful in providing our products to their customers,” said Insects Limited Vice President Tom Mueller. “Colleen comes to us with a strong sales background that will meet the needs of our customers, and she has a wonderful personality that will fit our culture and core values as a company.”
O’Rourke is originally from Vincennes, Ind. She graduated from Indiana University in 2016 and lived in Chicago for five years. In her downtime, she likes to play tennis, watch the latest Netflix series and explore new restaurants.
O’Rourke said she is most excited about helping Insects Limited become the future of effective pheromone technology.