July 27, 2020

Blueprint to Modernize Food Safety

FDA Publishes Blueprint to Modernize Food Safety

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the New Era for Smarter Food Safety Blueprint, Modern Approaches for Modern Times to establish a new methodology of food safety, leveraging technology and other tools to create a safer and more digital, traceable food system. Originally, slated for March 2020, the blueprint was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the months that have followed, it has become even clearer — from our experiences with the pandemic and the lessons we have been learning as part of the FDA’s response to it — just how essential the actions outlined in this blueprint are, and, if anything, they are more important now than ever,” said Stephen M. Hahn, MD, FDA Commissioner.

The blueprint outlines a path forward that builds on the work the FDA has already done through the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The four main elements central to the blueprint are Tech-enabled Technology, Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention and Outbreak Response, New Business Models and Retail Modernization, and Food Safety Culture.

The New Era for Smarter Food Safety Blueprint has been well-received by industry leaders. Leslie G. Sarasin, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Food Industry Association (FMI), said, “On behalf of the retailers, wholesalers, product suppliers, and other stakeholders within the FMI membership, I thank the FDA for its leadership in designing a plan that creates a more digital, traceable, and safer food system. We look forward to working with the agency on the implementation of its Smarter Food Safety plan.”

The FDA wants to have end-to-end traceability throughout the food safety system. The blueprint calls for a review of the FDA's current outbreak response and recall protocols to improve how the agency makes traceback requests of firms and receives information in digital form. The FDA also noted that it is placing an emphasis on examining how to protect food and consumers with new business models, such as online shopping for groceries and meal delivery services.

“The pandemic has given us a new perspective on what we mean by a food safety culture,” Dr. Hahn said. “We still believe that to make dramatic reductions in foodborne disease, we must do more to influence and change human behavior, as well as to address how employees think about food safety and how they demonstrate their commitment to this as part of their jobs.

 

Read the New Era for Smarter Food Safety Blueprint here.