FDA Reminds Manufacturers of Their Duty to Protect Food Supply
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted a letter to food manufacturers on its website last week reminding companies that they are legally responsible for assuring that the ingredients they use are safe for human consumption. FDA also announced in the letter that the agency was working with state regulators on a new initiative to inspect domestic food and feed facilities and to test product samples for the presence of melamine and other protein ingredients.
The letter and initiative quickly followed the discovery earlier this spring that several pet deaths in the United States resulted from pet food contaminated with melamine, a cheap additive that looks like protein in tests and had been used as filler by some manufacturers in China. In addition, some of the contaminated pet food "may have been mixed" with feed for domestic pigs and poultry meant for human consumption.
"From the numerous conversations and inquiries I have been part of, there is no reason for concern about melamine being implicated in the dairy industry," said Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president and counsel.
While FDA noted that there are no indications that melamine has been added to ingredients other than those used in wheat flour and later recalled pet foods, the agency reminded food manufacturers that they are responsible for ensuring the safety of their products.
"Manufacturers are encouraged to make sure that they have procedures in place that ensure the safety of the ingredients in their products, as well as the safety of the packaging and processing supplies they use," the FDA letter states. "Manufacturers should also verify that their suppliers have such procedures in place."
FDA announced a new Protein Surveillance Assignment on May 1 as an additional precautionary step to help ensure the safety of the domestic food and feed supply.
Supplementing FDA's current melamine testing, the new initiative will focus on wheat gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein and rice protein concentrates. FDA believes the project could be expanded in a few weeks, however, to include a review of additional types of protein concentrates and finished products, which were not named.
To read the FDA letter, click here. For more information, contact Detlefsen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Posted May 7, 2007