The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) last week issued guidance for manufacturers of foods that contain peanuts and ingredients derived from peanuts. The voluntary guidance recommends steps that companies may take to manage the risk of Salmonella contamination associated with peanuts, which recently gained national attention during the widespread product recall by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA).
"We encourage members to share and review the guidance with their production teams," said Allen Sayler, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards. "We expect FDA investigators will likely begin using the guidance as a benchmark when they inspect facilities that make products containing peanuts and ingredients that come from peanuts."
IDFA learned last week that FDA investigators are conducting follow-up inspections with plants that have used the PCA peanut products. These inspections include auditing of company records detailing the effectiveness of the company's recall actions and extensive swabbing of floors, walls, ceilings and processing equipment to test for the presence of Salmonella.
FDA has published a call for comments in the Federal Register. IDFA plans to file comments and asks interested members to send their input to Sayler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-220-3544, or Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs, at email@example.com or 202-220-3554.
Also last week, CFSAN issued a companion bulletin for retail food stores and food service establishments that sell products containing peanuts and peanut-derived ingredients. The bulletin asks the outlets to work closely with their suppliers to ensure that the peanut products have been manufactured and packaged in keeping with good manufacturing practices. The guidance and bulletin are posted on FDA's website.
"Measures to Address the Risk for Contamination by Salmonella Species in Food Containing a Peanut-Derived Product as an Ingredient"
"Bulletin to Operators of Food Service Establishments and Retail Food Stores Regarding Measures to Address the Risk for Contamination by Salmonella Species in Food Containing a Peanut-Derived Product as an Ingredient"
In related news, the International Association for Food Protection, a non-profit organization of food safety professionals, is offering a one-day symposium, titled "Salmonella in Peanut Products: Understanding the Risk and Controlling the Process," on March 26 in Arlington, Va. Food safety experts will lead a science-based discussion on the recent outbreak, current strategies and best risk management practices. More details are available here.