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Food and Beverages | Tuesday, August 17, 2021

After the attack on the food supply chains and manufacturing in the U.S., the government authorities as wells as the private bodies have suited up to provide stringent and foolproof measures to avoid outbreaks.

FREMONT, CA: The past 25 years in the food safety domain has been a rollercoaster ride. The government and private sectors are committed to providing more attention to food safety awareness and best practices in the interest of the public. Despite the checkered past and spotty present, food safety is evolving toward a higher plane, provided some methods work out in the field.

The progress historically is a response mainly for the crisis that occurred. For example, the E. coli outbreak in 1992 and 1993, which devoured four people and injured more than 500 people with HUS damages effecting for a whole lifetime. This outbreak was a wake-up call for innovations to be conducted in the field of food safety.

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) introduced a series of events after the produce outbreaks, Peanut problems, Salmonella outbreak, and melamine in dairy products. The act set a framework of preventive controls for the departments. An enormous amount of work is to be carried out by both industry and the government to verify if the best practices are executed across the entire food system.

Down in the Fields:

If the issue of proximity is considered, a lack of co-operation between the producers and federal agencies is noticed. To enhance the effect of food safety best practices, the LGMAs established a wider buffer zone among the feedlots and produce fields. It was a step up from earlier circumstances but was coined to be inadequate.

Hazard analyses need to be carried out by the producers or landowners themselves as the FDA is not allowed to do any extensive soil/water sampling or testing. The testing of the soil from producers’ land is out of the jurisdiction of the FDA. The extensive sampling needs to be executed privately between the feedlot operators and the producers. This process of dissemination and collection of samples, verification of the sampling process to maintain the integrity of the results, and conducting tests on the countless samples obtained on time abiding by the discipline of the experiment is a challenge that cannot be scaled or controlled.

The future looks bright in the development of food safety verification processes, as the consumers are concerned about their intake. This phenomenon will not only drive the sales of healthy, safe products but also favor the utilization of sustainable and eco-friendly practices for the production of the product. New epidemiological (epi) tools are innovated to assist in the diagnosing of outbreaks much quicker. The social media platforms will become the best and the worst critic about the companies being negligent as bad news is shared immediately. 

The food safety practices will improve if the focus on conducting constant innovations and research, preventive government oversight, and alignment on goals and strategies on the food Supply chain is heightened. The desperate need for comprehensive preventive strategies has set ablaze a will in the FDA to carry out the continuous improvement. The need and the want for a standard, detailed food safety strategy have been recognized as the critical elements of the food system. Strong food safety cultures as the foundation for sustained performance of the biological systems is extremely vital.

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