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This is an example of a farm record that will follow the commodity throughout the supply chain. Complete and secure.

https://www.scoringag.com/scoringag/3/Ag.cfm?sfa=main.PSA&entity_id=SSI_A7237BA48A

 

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With FDA already over the original due date for FSMA rules, extending comment periods, and being subjected to lawsuits and court mandates because of that, the government shutdown certainly has not helped to move things along. However, this does not mean that the food industry should sit back and wait for the rules to be finalized or compliance to take effect. There are numerous reasons you should be working toward compliance now – many of which are, like the rules themselves, interdependent.

Following are 10 Reasons you should be working toward FSMA compliance now:

1. Prevention vs. Reaction –

Moving the industry from reaction to prevention is the foundation of FSMA. Acting now is preventive; waiting until all the rules are in place and the deadline is pending is reactive. Further, much of what is in FSMA is good for brand protection, so paying attention to these rules today will help you develop systems that have other important impacts on your business. (See #9.)

2. The Devil is in the Details –

If you’ve taken a look at the proposed rules, you know that they are quite detailed. The longer you wait to review the rules and apply them to your business, the more you can expect to be scrambling to try to meet the compliance dates – particularly if you find that you are subject to more than one rule with interdependent clauses. (See #3.) When you rush to complete a task, you are more likely to make mistakes or miss those devilish details. Think about any project you recently undertook. Did you give yourself enough time to thoroughly review the specifications, strategize and plan, take action to implement the plan, then evaluate it to ensure that it not only fits the specifications but also is effective for your business? If you waited until the last minute to start the project, you probably did not have enough time to implement each of the steps needed for success. In the same way, if you wait until the last minute to begin working on the FSMA rules, it’s unlikely you will give yourself enough to do much more than simply take action and hope for the best.

3. Multiple Rule Compliance –

The complexity and interdependence of the FSMA provisions are a primary reason that FDA has had to take extra time to develop the rules and has extended the comment periods. In much the same way, every business will have to interpret the complex details of at least one rule; and most businesses will be subject to multiple rules and have to take into consideration the interdependence of each. For example, the Preventive Controls rule will impact most businesses in one way or another; if you grow, harvest, pack, or hold produce, you will also be subject to the Produce Safety rule; and if you use any imported ingredients or supplies, you may be impacted by the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) and the Accredited Third-Party rule – all of which are interdependent.

4. Training –

Implementing practices and standards in your operation to ensure compliance with the rules will require personnel training. If you are still in the process of developing compliant standards when the deadline looms, you will have no opportunity to educate or train your workers in your new standards.

5. ROI –

Start monitoring critical operations and save time and money by seeing that things need a correction before you have a problem on your hands. Identify corrective actions before there is an issue so that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel or waste time trying to remember what you did last time. Similarly, have a recall plan so that there isn’t mass confusion on who does what when (not if) you have a recall.

6. Improve Food Safety

Besides the direct standard-making practices of the first four reasons there is also a business case to be made for implementing improved practices that meet or exceed FSMA rules. If the proposed rules contain preventive controls or safety measures that you are not already implementing in your facility, you are likely at risk for a food safety violation and/or recall – and all the negative media attention and economic reprisals that entails. (See #7 and #8.) If you have any doubts along these lines, read our blog from last week: Are We in a New Era of Federal Prosecutions for Food Safety?

7. Brand Protection

While business closure and complete loss of brand is an extreme result, any food safety violation (unintended or not) or recall can, and usually does, garner undesirable media attention. And today, media is not only the local paper or national TV news, it is also the homemaker blogger, the teenage tweeter, and the cause-centric consumer activist, all of whom have open access to Internet posting of information – and misinformation. The more you protect the safety of your food through regulated or unregulated preventive-based controls, the more you protect your brand.

8. Move Toward or Maintain Certification to a GFSI-benchmarked Scheme –

There are many parallels between the FSMA Preventive Controls rule and GFSI standard. Take SQF for example – Although there are elements of SQF and other GFSI-benchmarked schemes that are not as prescriptive as FSMA, there are several areas addressed by SQF that have not been addressed in the proposed rule. Thus, as the food industry looks to protect customers and their brand as well as be in compliance with the proposed new rules, our own analysis indicates that being SQF level 2 certified to today’s SQF standards is a very strong start. If you’re already certified, keep improving (#9); if you’re not, consider if implementing preventive controls warrants the pursuit of certification to a GFSI scheme.

9. Best Practices for Continuous Improvement

Implementing best practices should be a basic practice for every food facility, and there are plenty of best practices written into the proposed rules that will enable a facility to improve. Implementing best practices gleaned from this review of the rules will not only move you toward compliance, it will help you continuously improve.

10. Just Do It –

Although the final rules are unlikely to be exactly the same as the proposed rules, getting started will certainly give you a leg up. And if you work toward complying with the strictest of the proposed rule, you will be closer to being ready if the final rule is even stricter. And if the final rule is less strict? Worst case, you will be over safe; certainly not a bad thing! The bar of FSMA is not that high – do you really want to be only as good as the lowest common denominator?

By David Acheson
The Acheson Group

 

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Docket Number: FDA-2011-N-0143
Proposed Rule:

Proposed Rule (PDF: 1MB)

Federal Register Notice
Comment Now! Due November 26, 2013 at 11:59 PM ET
Fact Sheet (including Summary and Background Information)
Also available in a Print Friendly PDF (256KB).
Explanatory Diagrams (PDF: 5MB)
These diagrams illustrate the proposed FSVP regulations and include exemptions, the “standard” requirements (including two alternative approaches to requirements for supplier verification activities), and modified requirements for certain types of importers and imported food. The diagrams do not include all aspects of the proposed regulations.
Preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis
Questions & Answers COMING SOON!
Consumer Update: Strengthening Oversight of Imported Foods
Blog: Proposed Rules Will Strengthen Global Food Safety

Summary
On July 26, 2013, FDA issued proposed regulations that would greatly strengthen the oversight of foods imported for U.S. consumers. Under the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) regulations, importers would be required to perform certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produced in a manner that provides the same level of public health protection as that required of domestic food producers. The FSVP regulations would implement section 301 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
The proposed regulations vary based on the type of food product (such as processed foods, produce, and dietary supplements), the category of importer, the nature of the hazard in the food, and who is to control the hazard.
Background
Food arrives in the United States from farms and producers around the world. About 15 percent of the U.S. food supply is imported, and for some commodities, such as produce, that percentage increases greatly. It is important that food imported into the United States meets the same level of public health protection as food produced domestically.
FSMA, signed into law on January 4, 2011, enables the FDA to better protect public health by helping to ensure the safety and security of the U.S. food supply. The vision of FSMA is prevention — preventing food safety problems before they occur, rather than reacting to problems when they happen. One of the most significant changes that FSMA made to FDA’s food safety authorities is in the area of imports. These new import authorities will help FDA transition from its historical focus on catching food safety problems at the border to one that builds safety in throughout the supply chain, from foreign producers to U.S. consumers.
Although FSMA directs the FDA to increase its inspections of foreign food facilities, Congress also provided FDA with the authority to develop regulations that would require industry to share responsibility and be accountable for preventing food safety problems.
Highlights of the Proposed Rule
FSVP Requirements

All importers must establish and follow an FSVP, unless otherwise exempted. An importer of food under the proposed FSVP regulations is the U.S. owner or consignee of the food at the time of entry, or, if there is no U.S. owner or consignee at the time of entry, the U.S. agent or representative of the foreign owner or consignee. Under the proposed FSVP regulations, an importer would be required to develop, maintain, and follow an FSVP for each food it imports, which, in general, would need to include the following:
Compliance Status Review: Importers would be required to review the compliance status of the food and the potential foreign supplier before importing the food and periodically thereafter. Such review would need to include any FDA warning letters, import alerts, and requirements for certification issued by the FDA under section 801(q) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).
Hazard Analysis: Importers would be required to analyze the hazards associated with each food they import. The hazard analysis would identify the hazards that are reasonably likely to occur for each type of food imported, and evaluate the severity of the illness or injury if such a hazard were to occur.
Verification Activities: Importers would be required to conduct activities that provide adequate assurances that the hazards identified as reasonably likely to occur are adequately controlled. Verification activities could include: onsite auditing of foreign suppliers; periodic or lot-by-lot sampling and testing of food; and periodic review of foreign supplier food safety records; or other appropriate risk-based procedures. Verification activities applicable to all FSVPs, regardless of identified hazards, include maintaining a written list of foreign suppliers from which food is imported, and establishing and following adequate written procedures for conducting verification activities.
Corrective Actions: Importers would be required to review complaints they receive concerning the foods they import, investigate the cause or causes of adulteration or misbranding in some circumstances, take appropriate corrective actions, and revise their FSVPs when they appear to be inadequate.
Periodic Reassessment of the FSVP: Importers would be required to reassess their FSVPs within three years of establishing the FSVP or within three years of the last assessment. However, importers would have to reassess the effectiveness of their FSVP sooner if they become aware of new information about potential hazards associated with the food. Examples of such information might include information on changes to the source of raw materials or to product formulation.
Importer Identification: Importers would be required to obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number for their company and to ensure that, for each food product offered for importation into the United States, their name and DUNS number are provided electronically when filing for entry with Customs and Border Protection.
Recordkeeping: Importers would be required to keep certain records, including those that document compliance status reviews, hazard analyses, foreign supplier verification activities, investigations and corrective actions, and FSVP reassessments.
Control of Hazards

The FDA is proposing a flexible, risk-based approach to foreign supplier verification. The proposed regulation focuses on foreseeable food safety risks identified through a hazard assessment process, rather than all risks covered by the adulteration provisions in the FD&C Act. Because the principle of hazard assessment is well accepted and understood throughout the food industry, the FDA believes that it provides the most effective way to implement a risk-based framework in which importers can evaluate potential products and suppliers and conduct appropriate verification efforts.
The requirements for supplier verification in the proposed rule on FSVP are primarily based on who is to control the hazards that are reasonably likely to occur with a particular food and the nature of the hazard. In the proposed rule, the FDA is proposing two options for the supplier verification activities for hazards that the foreign supplier will control or that the foreign supplier verifies are being controlled by its raw material or ingredient supplier.
Option 1

Under Option 1 of the proposal, if the foreign supplier controls the hazard at its establishment and there is a reasonable probability that exposure to the hazard will result in serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals (SAHCODHA), the importer would be required to conduct or obtain documentation of onsite auditing of the foreign supplier. Onsite auditing would also be required for microbiological hazards in certain raw agricultural commodities. For non-SAHCODHA hazards that the foreign supplier controls, the importer would be required to conduct one of more of the verification activities mentioned above (onsite auditing, sampling and testing, review of the supplier’s food safety records, or some other appropriate procedure) before using or distributing the food and periodically thereafter. In determining the appropriate verification activities, the importer must consider the risk presented by the hazard and the food and foreign supplier’s compliance status.
Option 2

Under Option 2 of the proposal, for all hazards that the foreign supplier will either control or verify that its supplier is controlling, importers would need to choose a verification procedure from among onsite auditing, sampling and testing, review of supplier food safety records, or some other appropriate procedure. In determining the appropriate verification activities and how frequently they should be conducted, the importer would need to consider the risk presented by the hazard, the probability that exposure to the hazard will result in serious harm, and the food and foreign supplier’s compliance status.
If the importer, rather than the foreign supplier or its supplier, will be responsible for controlling a hazard that it has identified as reasonably likely to occur, the proposed rule would require the importer to document, at least annually, that it has established and is following procedures that adequately control the hazard. If the importer’s customer will be controlling a hazard identified by the importer, the importer would need to obtain written assurance, at least annually, that its customer has established and is following procedures (identified in the written assurance) that adequately control the hazard.
The proposed rule also states the FDA’s intent to align the supplier verification provisions in the FSVP regulations with any supplier verification provisions that are included in the final rules on preventive controls for human and animal food. This would avoid imposing duplicative requirements on entities that would be subject to both the FSVP and preventive controls regulations (because the entity is both a food importer and a registered food facility).
Modified Requirements and Exemptions

Under the proposed rule, modified FSVP requirements would apply in certain circumstances, including the following:
Importation of a dietary supplement or dietary supplement component;
Importation of food by a very small importer or importation of food from a very small foreign supplier; and
Importation of food from a foreign supplier in good compliance standing with a food safety system that FDA has officially recognized as comparable or determined to be equivalent to that of the United States.
The proposed rule would exempt the importation of the following from the FSVP requirements:
Juice and seafood from facilities that are in compliance with the Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) regulations, which contain their own supplier verification provisions;
Food imported for research or evaluation purposes;
Food imported for personal consumption;
Alcoholic beverages; and
Food that is transshipped or imported for further processing and export.
Effective and Compliance Dates
The FDA is proposing that the FSVP regulations become effective 60 days after the final rule is published in the Federal Register, but FDA is proposing to provide additional time before importers would be required to come into compliance. The compliance dates would vary depending on the circumstances. In general, the compliance date would be 18 months after the publication date of the final FSVP regulations. However, recognizing that the FSVP proposed rule is closely tied to the proposed rules on preventive controls and produce safety, the compliance dates for importers in many cases would depend on the compliance dates for those rules. In general, the importer would be required to comply with the FSVP regulations six months after the foreign supplier of the food is required to comply with the new FSMA preventive controls regulations.
Economic Impact of the Proposed Rule
The proposed rule is aimed at reducing the public health burden of foodborne illness by helping to ensure that imported food is produced in compliance with applicable food safety regulations. The annual cost of the illnesses associated with imported foods that would be subject to the FSVP regulations is approximately $1.18 billion, which is more than one-fifth of the entire estimated burden of illness related to foods consumed in the United States.
For option 1, the proposed rule has a first-year cost to industry of $492 million and an annualized cost of $473 million, ,using a 7 percent discount rate according to Office of Management and Budget guidelines.
For option 2, the proposed rule has a first-year cost to industry of $480 million and an annualized cost of $462 million, using a 7 percent discount rate according to Office of Management and Budget guidelines.
View the entire Preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis.
Rulemaking Process and How to Submit Comments
When the FDA issues a proposed rule on a matter, it publishes the proposed rule in the Federal Register so that the public can review it and submit comments. The FDA considers comments received during the comment period on a proposed rule and then considers revising the rule based on the Agency’s review of the comments before issuing a final rule. In the preamble to the final rule, we discuss the significant comments received. The proposed and final rules and supporting documents are filed in the FDA’s official docket on http://www.regulations.gov and also can be accessed at http://www.fda.gov/fsma. Comments on the proposed rule “Food Supplier Verification Programs for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals,” which publishes in the Federal Register on July 29, 2013, are due by 120 days after the publication date.
The FDA has conducted extensive outreach to industry, the consumer community, other government agencies, and the international community to gain input and perspective on how to structure this and other proposed rules to implement FSMA. That input and perspective helped shape the proposed regulations in a way that will help to ensure that they are practical and flexible as well as effective. The FDA held a public meeting on FSMA provisions concerning imported food, including FSVPs, in March 2011, and we will be holding three additional public meetings during the comment period on the FSVP proposed rule.
Assistance to Industry
The FDA plans to publish, at the time of the final rule on FSVPs, draft guidance to assist importers in developing and following FSVPs as well as how to comply with the other requirements of the FSVP rule.
Additional Information
Federal Register Notice for the Proposed Rule on FSVP
Preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis
Fact Sheet: Accreditation of Third Party Auditors/Certification Bodies to Conduct Food Safety Audits and Issue Certifications
Fact Sheet: Preventive Controls for Human Food
Fact Sheet: Standards for Produce Safety
The Food Safety Law and the Rulemaking Process: Putting FSMA to Work
Video: The Rulemaking Process – A Primer by FDA
Video: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act – A Primer

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FDA has published a “Frequently Asked Questions” document that describes a new activity that the Agency has been developing and piloting over the past few years called Systems Recognition. While not a FSMA provision, systems recognition is part of FDA’s broader toolbox for import safety and is referenced in the recently-published Proposed Rule for Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVPs) under FSMA. FDA is accepting public comments on the Systems Recognition document.

For more information on FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act, visit http://www.fda.gov/fsma.

Stay Connected:
GovDelivery, on behalf of: U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) · 10903 New Hampshire Ave · Silver Spring, MD 20993 · 800-439-1420

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Dr. David Acheson, Partner and Managing Director, Food and Import Safety Practice, Leavitt Partners
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. Join one of the world’s most esteemed experts in food safety, Dr. David Acheson for a FSMA update with specific focus on Preventive Control and Produce Rules and the proposed rules on Foreign Supplier Verification and Third Party Audits. Get an overview of these proposed rules as well as some practical advice on what they mean to FDA regulated establishments.
For an overview of the SQF International Conference, please visit:
SQFI.com/2013conference

Thank you to our premier partners!

REGISTER TODAY!

Contact:
Amanda Bond-Thorley
202.220.0606
abondthorley@fmi.org

Book Your Hotel NOW! Hotel rooms are selling FAST!

#SQF2013

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I stopped being a fan of Alex Rodriquez years ago when he left the Mariners, so I was not that particularly bothered when he was banned from baseball for steroid use.

A-Rod’s banning, along with the past steroid-induced sins of Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and others, show that player punishment or embarrassment does not always stop the crime.

No serious person can believe that players have an incentive to play “clean.” More homers and strikeouts mean more fans in the stands, or glued to TV commercials, and even more revenue for the owners. More revenue for owners translates into bonuses for players, incentivizing players to cheat. Owners talk all season about the evils of steroid use as they stuff great gobs of money into their pockets that they make from players advantaged by steroids.

Money talks and ethics walk.

Players are the well-paid chattel of owners who want to win at any cost. Owners may well feign ignorance of steroid-induced homers or strikes, but they covet them nonetheless. Banning A-Rod changes nothing.

Want to change the direction of baseball overnight? Change the incentives. If the Yankees had been banned from Baseball for a year and a half — not A-Rod — you can bet that no player in baseball would touch the stuff again.

So, what does cantaloupe have to do with Baseball? Much, in addition to both being round. Like players and the baseball industry, incentives are wrong with cantaloupe growers — actually all food — and the retail industry.

In 2011, Listeria-tainted cantaloupes grown in Eastern Colorado sickened 147 in two dozen states, killing at least 33. It was the largest foodborne outbreak death toll in the United States in 100 years. That is saying a lot given that the Centers for Disease Control and prevention estimate that food sickens 48,000,000, hospitalizes 135,000 and kills over 3,000 each year.

The year before, a third generation cantaloupe grower had been enticed by a broker-shipper preferred by Walmart and Kroger to expand its market nationwide. An auditor recommended by Walmart inspected the farm and packing shed in 2011, while the cantaloupes were actually being washed by un-chlorinated, Listeria-tainted water. The farm, as with most food audits, got a superior rating of 96%. That was the green light for the cantaloupes to ship to your local Walmart or Kroger.

Those same retailersdistance themselves from such behavior, clucking constantly about food safety from “farm to fork” and creating a “culture of food safety.” They hire auditors as middlemen in the food-safety chain to give them cover to ignore food safety risks.

The grower of the tainted cantaloupe has gone bankrupt. The grower is also facing criminal misdemeanor charges for selling food considered to be “adulterated,” which according to Federal law is food that “bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance, which may render it injurious to health.” These charges, unlike a felony charge, “do not require proof of fraudulent intent, or even of knowing or willful conduct.” The grower does face fines and jail nonetheless.

Countless other growers and manufacturers of food produced in the last decades have faced both civil and criminal liability — yet food poisoning continues.

Sound a bit like players facing suspension over and over again?

Retailers, like team owners, require audits, set the rules, called specifications, for how food — like cantaloupes — should be safely produced. They then ignore their own rules because living by their rules costs a cent or two more, and that seems not worth the price. Why? Because just like Baseball owners who can pass the buck to the players, it is not retailers who are on the hook if there is a problem — the growers are.

Team owners squeeze their players by demanding performance. No home runs or strike-outs — no place on the team. Retailers squeeze their suppliers on price. Not the lowest price? You are out. In fact, retailers squeeze growers for the last bit of profit, leaving little for growers to invest in producing safer food – an oddly perverse incentive.

Want to change the direction of food safety overnight? Change the incentives.

Most Americans do not realize that the retailers they buy their food from are mainly insulated from civil and criminal liability. Only their suppliers have liability. But, if we were to put the onus of compensating customers for medical bills and lost wages onto the retailers that profit the most from the sale, their incentives to buy food that will not kill you would go up a lot.

Want to change the incentive of a retailer who sells you food that can make you sick or kill you? Have them face jail time or fines if they do.

Want to make food safer from “farm to fork” in a “culture of food safety?” Pay fair wages to farm workers and fair prices to growers. Both are investments in safer food.

Like steroid use in baseball, food safety will not change until those with the most power have the incentive to change behavior. Banning players or bankrupting cantaloupe growers does nothing to change the dynamic. Banning baseball owners would stop steroid use overnight. Fining or jailing retailers who sell food that kills people – well, that will do it.

20130817-145510.jpg

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1.23.2013, 13:48 PM
Food fraud alert! Pomegranate juice, olive oil, seafood and spices are among the foods that aren’t always what they seem: report

C.O.T/a.collectionRF/Getty Images/amana images RF
Think you’re eating white tuna? Think again, a new report says — some food manufacturers may be swapping in escolar, a less expensive fish that’s been linked to a type of food poisoning.

Attention, shoppers: Sometimes what you think you see on the grocery store shelf isn’t really what you’re getting.

The nonprofit U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention released a new update to its Food Fraud Database on Wednesday, documenting instances of food fraud as reported by the media and scientific journals.

Food fraud is defined as “deliberate substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging, or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain,” according to the organization.

Among the most offending foods are common products like olive oil, fruit juices, spices and seafood. In many cases, more expensive foods are filled out or replaced with less expensive, and sometimes potentially harmful, substitutes.

IS IT ETHICAL TO EAT QUINOA?

Foods become “fraudulent” when the manufacturer isn’t up front with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration or other regulatory agencies about what’s going into its products, Dr. Markus Lipp, senior director of food standards at USP told the Daily News.

“In general, the U.S. food supply is very safe, because of the vigilance of the FDA, the food industry and consumers,” he said. “With the database, we try to promote informed decision making.”

The USP added 800 new records to its database, reflecting the years 2011-2012. Here are some of the most fraudulent foods it found:

Robert Medvedenko/Getty Images/StockFood

Be wary of products labelled “100% pomegranate juice,” the report says.

Pomegranate juice: Some products labelled “100% pomegranate juice” may be filled out with other fruit juices or with sugar water.

Olive oil: Some olive oils are diluted with less-expensive vegetable oils, the report says.

Spices: Powdered spices like saffron, turmeric and chili powder may be diluted or replaced with less-expensive spices or fillers.

White tuna: The “white tuna” on your sushi menu may actually be less-expensive escolar, a fish that is banned in other countries including Italy and Japan. It has a high content of waxy esters that contribute to a type of food poisoning called gempylotoxism. Escolar is legal in the U.S., but the Food and Drug Administration advises against selling or consuming it.

‘PINK SLIME’ TAINTED WITH E. COLI KILLED MINNESOTA MAN, SUIT CLAIMS

Lemon juice, other fruit juices and jams: Foreign manufacturers sometimes sneak clouding agents into these to make them look fresh-squeezed. Roughly 4,000 people in Taiwan became sick from ingesting products laced with dangerous pthalates, a chemical also found in plastic, according to the report.

Honey and maple syrup: High fructose corn syrup or other sugars might be snuck in to enhance sweetness.

Coffee: Fillers can be added to ground coffees to increase their volume.

There are several steps consumers can take to avoid food fraud, Lipp said. They include:

Do your homework. Don’t be afraid to contact manufacturers to ask about their ingredients and how their products are sourced.
Buy whole foods when possible. We know how a whole coffee bean or a black peppercorn should look, but it’s much more difficult to spot inconsistencies in a pre-ground powder.
If it seems like too good a deal, it probably is. If you spot a gallon of “extra-virgin” olive oil that’s much cheaper than similar products, you might not be getting what you bargain for.
For the full report and to search the Food Fraud Database, visit foodfraud.org.

1.23.2013, 13:48 PM
Food fraud alert! Pomegranate juice, olive oil, seafood and spices are among the foods that aren’t always what they seem: report

C.O.T/a.collectionRF/Getty Images/amana images RF
Think you’re eating white tuna? Think again, a new report says — some food manufacturers may be swapping in escolar, a less expensive fish that’s been linked to a type of food poisoning.

Attention, shoppers: Sometimes what you think you see on the grocery store shelf isn’t really what you’re getting.

The nonprofit U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention released a new update to its Food Fraud Database on Wednesday, documenting instances of food fraud as reported by the media and scientific journals.

Food fraud is defined as “deliberate substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging, or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain,” according to the organization.

Among the most offending foods are common products like olive oil, fruit juices, spices and seafood. In many cases, more expensive foods are filled out or replaced with less expensive, and sometimes potentially harmful, substitutes.

IS IT ETHICAL TO EAT QUINOA?

Foods become “fraudulent” when the manufacturer isn’t up front with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration or other regulatory agencies about what’s going into its products, Dr. Markus Lipp, senior director of food standards at USP told the Daily News.

“In general, the U.S. food supply is very safe, because of the vigilance of the FDA, the food industry and consumers,” he said. “With the database, we try to promote informed decision making.”

The USP added 800 new records to its database, reflecting the years 2011-2012. Here are some of the most fraudulent foods it found:

Robert Medvedenko/Getty Images/StockFood

Be wary of products labelled “100% pomegranate juice,” the report says.

Pomegranate juice: Some products labelled “100% pomegranate juice” may be filled out with other fruit juices or with sugar water.

Olive oil: Some olive oils are diluted with less-expensive vegetable oils, the report says.

Spices: Powdered spices like saffron, turmeric and chili powder may be diluted or replaced with less-expensive spices or fillers.

White tuna: The “white tuna” on your sushi menu may actually be less-expensive escolar, a fish that is banned in other countries including Italy and Japan. It has a high content of waxy esters that contribute to a type of food poisoning called gempylotoxism. Escolar is legal in the U.S., but the Food and Drug Administration advises against selling or consuming it.

‘PINK SLIME’ TAINTED WITH E. COLI KILLED MINNESOTA MAN, SUIT CLAIMS

Lemon juice, other fruit juices and jams: Foreign manufacturers sometimes sneak clouding agents into these to make them look fresh-squeezed. Roughly 4,000 people in Taiwan became sick from ingesting products laced with dangerous pthalates, a chemical also found in plastic, according to the report.

Honey and maple syrup: High fructose corn syrup or other sugars might be snuck in to enhance sweetness.

Coffee: Fillers can be added to ground coffees to increase their volume.

There are several steps consumers can take to avoid food fraud, Lipp said. They include:

Do your homework. Don’t be afraid to contact manufacturers to ask about their ingredients and how their products are sourced.
Buy whole foods when possible. We know how a whole coffee bean or a black peppercorn should look, but it’s much more difficult to spot inconsistencies in a pre-ground powder.
If it seems like too good a deal, it probably is. If you spot a gallon of “extra-virgin” olive oil that’s much cheaper than similar products, you might not be getting what you bargain for.
For the full report and to search the Food Fraud Database, visit foodfraud.org.

Joff Lee/Getty Images

Ground versions of costly spices like saffron and tumeric might be packed with fillers in order to b1.23.2013, 13:48 PM
Food fraud alert! Pomegranate juice, olive oil, seafood and spices are among the foods that aren’t always what they seem: report

C.O.T/a.collectionRF/Getty Images/amana images RF
Think you’re eating white tuna? Think again, a new report says — some food manufacturers may be swapping in escolar, a less expensive fish that’s been linked to a type of food poisoning.

Attention, shoppers: Sometimes what you think you see on the grocery store shelf isn’t really what you’re getting.

The nonprofit U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention released a new update to its Food Fraud Database on Wednesday, documenting instances of food fraud as reported by the media and scientific journals.

Food fraud is defined as “deliberate substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging, or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain,” according to the organization.

Among the most offending foods are common products like olive oil, fruit juices, spices and seafood. In many cases, more expensive foods are filled out or replaced with less expensive, and sometimes potentially harmful, substitutes.

IS IT ETHICAL TO EAT QUINOA?

Foods become “fraudulent” when the manufacturer isn’t up front with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration or other regulatory agencies about what’s going into its products, Dr. Markus Lipp, senior director of food standards at USP told the Daily News.

“In general, the U.S. food supply is very safe, because of the vigilance of the FDA, the food industry and consumers,” he said. “With the database, we try to promote informed decision making.”

The USP added 800 new records to its database, reflecting the years 2011-2012. Here are some of the most fraudulent foods it found:

Robert Medvedenko/Getty Images/StockFood

Be wary of products labelled “100% pomegranate juice,” the report says.

Pomegranate juice: Some products labelled “100% pomegranate juice” may be filled out with other fruit juices or with sugar water.

Olive oil: Some olive oils are diluted with less-expensive vegetable oils, the report says.

Spices: Powdered spices like saffron, turmeric and chili powder may be diluted or replaced with less-expensive spices or fillers.

White tuna: The “white tuna” on your sushi menu may actually be less-expensive escolar, a fish that is banned in other countries including Italy and Japan. It has a high content of waxy esters that contribute to a type of food poisoning called gempylotoxism. Escolar is legal in the U.S., but the Food and Drug Administration advises against selling or consuming it.

‘PINK SLIME’ TAINTED WITH E. COLI KILLED MINNESOTA MAN, SUIT CLAIMS

Lemon juice, other fruit juices and jams: Foreign manufacturers sometimes sneak clouding agents into these to make them look fresh-squeezed. Roughly 4,000 people in Taiwan became sick from ingesting products laced with dangerous pthalates, a chemical also found in plastic, according to the report.

Honey and maple syrup: High fructose corn syrup or other sugars might be snuck in to enhance sweetness.

Coffee: Fillers can be added to ground coffees to increase their volume.

There are several steps consumers can take to avoid food fraud, Lipp said. They include:

Do your homework. Don’t be afraid to contact manufacturers to ask about their ingredients and how their products are sourced.
Buy whole foods when possible. We know how a whole coffee bean or a black peppercorn should look, but it’s much more difficult to spot inconsistencies in a pre-ground powder.
If it seems like too good a deal, it probably is. If you spot a gallon of “extra-virgin” olive oil that’s much cheaper than similar products, you might not be getting what you bargain for.
For the full report and to search the Food Fraud Database, visit foodfraud.org.

Joff Lee/Getty Images

Ground versions of costly spices like saffron and tumeric might be packed with fillers in order to bring down the price, duping consumers in the process.

Author:
TRACY MILLER

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration must publish all of the regulations required under the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act by June 30, 2015, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the U.S. District Court of Northern California rejected FDA’s proposed timeline for completion of the regulations, which outlined “target timelines” of 2015 through 2016 for the publishing of all final rules.

“The court finds defendant’s ‘target timeframes’ to be an inadequate response to the request that the parties submit a proposal regarding deadlines that can form the basis of an injunction,” wrote Hamilton in her decision.

The ruling marked the latest, and possibly last, phase in the suit brought by the Center for Food Safety against FDA for the agency’s failure to meet several deadlines for the writing of FSMA-mandated rules. In a petition filed August 29, 2012, CFS asked the court to order the completion of the delayed rules.

Since that time, FDA has released three of the seven key rules that CFS sited as overdue in its filing, including the proposed rule for produce safety, the proposed rule for preventive controls across the food supply and new requirements for food facility registration. Three other rules have been submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget, which must approve the proposed rules before they are released. These include new standards for foreign food suppliers, preventive controls for animal feed and standards ensuring the neutrality of third-party audits.

A regulation ensuring the safe transport of food, also mandated by FSMA, has yet to be submitted to OMB.

On April 13 of this year, Judge Hamilton issued a motion for summary judgment, requesting the parties to submit remedy proposals for new deadlines.

While the Court found the deadlines submitted by FDA to be too fluid, it also acknowledged the complexity of FDA’s task and did not require the agency to publish all of its final rules by May 1, 2014, the amended deadline that CFS had proposed. The Court said this date was “overly restrictive” and could also lead to the curtailing of the public comment periods for the rules, a situation the Court wished to avoid.

“This is a critical victory for consumers, farmers, and the public health,” said George Kimbrell, CFS senior attorney in a statement. “The Court’s decision will ensure FDA cannot unduly delay these life-saving measures any longer, while also ensuring all interested parties have a meaningful say in their outcome.”

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
tamara.hinton@mail.house.gov

WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013 by a vote of 216-208.

“Today was an important step toward enacting a five-year farm bill this year that gives our farmers and ranchers certainty, provides regulatory relief to small businesses across the country, significantly reduces spending, and makes common-sense, market-oriented reforms to agricultural policy. I look forward to continuing conversations with my House colleagues and starting conversations with my Senate colleagues on a path forward that ultimately gets a farm bill to the President’s desk in the coming months,” said Chairman Frank Lucas.

To view Chairman Lucas’ floor speech before the final vote click here.

http://agriculture.house.gov/press-release/lucas-house-passage-farm-bill-huge-step-forward

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The Pew Charitable Trusts commended Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA) last week for his leadership in securing approximately $27 million in additional food safety funding for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the appropriations bill that is moving through the House.

As Food Safety News reported Friday, the food safety funding boost was approved as part of a $19.5 billion agricultural appropriations bill that cleared the full House Appropriations Committee Thursday.

“We’re delighted that Rep. Latham, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, continues to make food safety a clear priority. He understands that food safety programs are crucial to consumers and to the hardworking farm families who grow our crops,” said Erik Olson, senior director of Pew’s food programs. “Outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, such as the salmonella in cantaloupe that sickened 15 Iowans last year, can shake consumer confidence and cost agricultural producers millions. This new funding would help strengthen prevention efforts and protect consumers and producers alike.”

In polling they conducted last year, Pew found that 73 percent of Iowans favored an increase in funding for FDA food safety programs for 2013, indicating that support was bipartisan.

Pew has also highlighted foodborne illness victims in Iowa to make the case for more funding for food safety.

“My daughter died at the age of 14 after being sickened by E. coli poisoning, and as a result, I know the horrors of foodborne illness all too well,” said Dana Boner of Monroe, IA. “This funding increase is a step in the right direction, and I appreciate Rep. Latham’s continued commitment to food safety.”

In a release, Pew noted that although the Senate version of the bill has included increased food safety funding for the past three years, this increase in the House bill marks the first time in three years the House Appropriations Committee has initiated significant new dollars for FDA food safety.

The House bill is expected to see floor action as early as next week. The Senate version of the appropriations bill is scheduled for committee markup next week.

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