IFT Highlights Key Scientific Impacts of New Food Safety Legislation

Dec 21, 2010, 18:33 ET from Institute of Food Technologists

Experts to Discuss at Special Food Safety Forum

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) commends Congress for passage of landmark food safety legislation, which represents the largest changes in the country's food safety laws in more than 70 years. These changes will be discussed at a special food safety forum on January 7th, 2011.

"This is a critical moment when it comes to the safety of the food we eat every day, because it puts science at the forefront of public policy," said IFT President Bob Gravani, PhD. "This legislation will be a platform to build on that ensures the consuming public continues to have safe, nutritious and healthy food."

IFT Highlights Key Aspects of the Legislation

The legislation has a variety of new changes that will improve the safety of the food system from farm to fork. Four elements of this legislation are critical to protecting the food supply for generations to come:

  • Product Tracing—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be required to establish a comprehensive product tracing system to track the movement of food products effectively from farm to point of sale or service. As IFT pointed out in a report issued to the FDA, a product tracing system would make it possible to identify the source of foodborne illness outbreaks earlier as well as contain the outbreak faster.
  • Performance Standards—In order to continually reduce the risk of contaminants in foods, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will identify and determine the most significant foodborne contaminants and develop science-based guidance to assist food producers. As a result, action levels (performance standards) will be set in place to encourage the food industry to strive toward a safer food supply.
  • Third Party Certification—Designated imported foods will now need to be certified by a third party with expertise in food safety and under the oversight of the FDA. This will enable the FDA to maximize resources and increase the number of product inspections to better ensure the safety of imported foods.
  • Preventive Control Plans—Food manufacturing facilities will be required to develop and implement written plans based upon science that evaluate hazards that could affect the safety of food; identify and implement preventive controls; monitor the performance of these controls; and maintain records of such monitoring.

"This bill covers a wide range of food safety initiatives that will ultimately benefit consumers," said Gravani. "While the bill isn't perfect, IFT commends Congress for taking action. However, there is still more work to be done when it comes to improving food safety on the local level. The bottom line is that no one should be exempt from food safety."

Food Safety Forum to be held on January 7

IFT is holding a special forum to discuss the industry implications of the new food safety legislation in Washington DC on January 7 at the offices of K&L Gates, LLP, 1601 K Street, NW, Washington, DC. The featured speakers will include:

David Acheson, Managing Director, Leavitt Partners

John Bode, Principal, OFW Law

Robert E. Brackett, Vice President and Director of the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST) at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)

Anthony T. Pavel, Jr, Partner, K&L Gates

About IFT

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a nonprofit scientific society. Our individual members are professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT's mission is to advance the science of food, and our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, contributing to healthier people everywhere. For more than 70 years, the IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow. We champion the use of sound science across the food value chain through the exchange of knowledge, by providing education, and by furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit ift.org.

SOURCE Institute of Food Technologists