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FDA Gearing Up For ‘New Era Of Smarter Food Safety’

Originally published by Forbes on October 15, 2019. Written by Tommy Tobin.

Following the enactment of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (“FSMA”) in 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) embarked on a series of regulatory efforts to increase the safety of America’s food supply. Later this month, the agency will host a public meeting to discuss its plans for “A New Era of Smarter Food Safety.”

In its upcoming public meeting, the FDA plans to discuss food traceability, digital technologies and evolving food business models. According to the agency, “No matter how consumers get their food, whether they are ordering online or at their favorite restaurant, they deserve to have confidence in the safety of the food supply.” The FDA’s initiative aims to harness technological improvements to better prevent, mitigate, and investigate food safety issues.

In a statement, the agency noted, “There will be significant innovation in the agriculture, food production, and food distribution systems in the next 10 years, which will continue to provide an even greater variety of food sources, food ingredients, and delivery conveniences for American consumers. With this ever-changing landscape, FDA must continue preparing to take advantage of new opportunities and address potential risks.”

 

One of the architects of the FDA’s new initiative, Frank Yiannas, explained that the agency’s approach will incorporate “new technologies that are being used in society and business sectors all around us. These include blockchain, sensor technology, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence to create a more digital, traceable, and safer food system.”

The FDA has already adopted new data tools to address food safety. Just days ago, the agency launched a Food Safety Dashboard, which highlighted metrics for food safety outcomes and measurements for initial data on FSMA-related regulations and associated compliance. The FDA hopes that the Dashboard and its data “will ultimately help the agency identify trends in food safety, continue to improve [its] risk-based food safety framework, and modernize the agency’s food safety approaches in a way that will help prepare us for a New Era of Smarter Food Safety.”

The FDA’s public meeting regarding its “New Era of Smarter Food Safety” is scheduled for October 21, 2019 in Maryland. While the in-person registration is at capacity, electronic webcast registration is available. Members of the public can submit written or electronic comments regarding the public meeting at Regulations.gov until November 20.