The Obama administration's Food Safety Working Group last week announced its proposals for overhauling the nation's food safety regulations. IDFA's Ruth Saunders was invited to the White House briefing hosted by Vice President Biden and Cabinet Secretaries Vilsack and Sibelius. The recommendations focus on making prevention a priority, strengthening surveillance and enforcement, and improving response and recovery.
The administration also announced they will work with Congress to enact new legislation giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to: require sanitation and preventive control plans for all facilities; access internal food safety records; establish performance standards; and mandate food recalls.
Although dairy wasn't mentioned specifically, the working group asked for a new product-tracing system that likely will have an impact on dairy processors.
The group called for the FDA to issue draft guidance on "steps the food industry can take to establish product tracing systems for improving national capacity for detecting the origins of foodborne illness." The timeframe for developing and issuing the draft guidance is three months.
"We believe there are considerably more details highlighting the working group's intentions and findings, but the government has yet to release them," said Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs. "We're anxiously awaiting that document so we can give it an appropriate review and share the details with members."
For the news release and a fact sheet with highlights from the proposal, visit www.foodsafetyworkinggroup.gov/ContentActivities/HomeActivities.htm.