Global Food Safety Issues Increasing
Through HorizonScan, FoodChain ID shares its third quarter findings, noting an increase in food integrity issues in key categories including poultry, seafood, vegetables, and nuts. Poultry and poultry products saw an increase of issues by 14.3% over last quarter, following a decline in Q1, which followed a record number of problems in 2017. These issues stemmed primarily from Salmonella contamination in chicken meat from Brazil. Seafood issues continue to rise, up by 23.1% due to issues such as mercury, altered organolepsis or histamines in fish, and veterinary drugs in crustaceans. There were also issues with Listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella in smoked/dried fish and clams. Other issues include pesticides found in peppers, peas (with pods), strawberries, and goji berries; and aflatoxins in almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil, and cashew nuts. On a positive note, milk and dairy product hazard reports are down 4.7%, and meat and meat product issues are down 14.1% after a Q2 increase of 9.9%.
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As reported by Reuters, FDA said on Dec. 20 it will consider creating new policy regarding the marketing and sale of cannabis after President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill, which legalized commercial production of hemp in the U.S. The FDA said in a statement that it hopes to make more efficient “pathways” for companies to introduce and market cannabis and cannabis-derived products, including cannabidiol, into interstate commerce. Hemp is a type of cannabis plant with no or extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound known as THC, the ingredient in marijuana associated with “high” feelings. The Farm Bill removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing for its commercial production as long as the plants contain no more than 0.3 percent THC.
Compliance Date for Food Labeling Rule
FDA recently announced that Jan. 1, 2022, will be the uniform compliance date for final food labeling regulations that are issued in calendar years 2019 and 2020. All food products subject to the Jan. 1, 2022, uniform compliance date must abide by the appropriate labeling regulations when initially introduced into interstate commerce on or after Jan. 1, 2022. This doesn’t change existing requirements for compliance dates contained in final rules published before Jan. 1, 2019.
FDA releases two reports on its sampling of whole fresh avocados and hot peppers to determine the frequently of harmful bacteria. For the hot pepper sampling, FDA analyzed domestic and imported hot pepper samples for Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and other types of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). Of the 1,615 samples tested, 46 were positive for Salmonella and one was positive for STEC, but further testing revealed that the STEC strain could not cause severe illness. For the whole fresh avocado sampling, FDA analyzed 1,615 domestic and imported avocado samples for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. Of the 1,615 samples, 12 tested positive for Salmonella. For the Listeria testing, the agency primarily tested the pulp of the avocado samples, and some samples of the fruit’s skin. Of the 1,254 avocado pulp samples, three were positive for Listeria. Of the 361 avocado skin samples, 64 were positive for Listeria. When FDA found positive samples in domestic product, it worked with the responsible firms to conduct recalls and followed up with inspections of growers and packinghouses to ensure they were following good agricultural and manufacturing practices. When FDA found positive samples in imported product, the agency refused entry to all product in lots associated with the positive(s), and placed the firms on import alert to stop additional product from entering the U.S.