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New, More Robust Surveillance Sampling Program Detailed By FDA
In First Year Of New Effort, FDA Focused On Raw Milk Cheese Among Other Foods
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week announced a new Internet resource to share more information about its sampling programs for food safety and also posted new information on a more robust surveillance sampling approach under development.
The agency said it began developing a new, more robust surveillance sampling approach last year.
Under the new sampling approach, FDA is collecting a statistically determined number of samples of targeted foods over a shorter period of time (12 to 18 months) to ensure a statistically valid amount of data is available for decision-making.
The agency’s past approach to microbiological surveillance sampling was to collect a relatively small number of samples for many different commodities over many years.
During the first year, FDA focused on raw milk cheese (aged 60 days), sprouts, and whole fresh avocados. The agency collected more than 800 samples total and tested them for Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli 0157:H7.
The Food and Drug Administration said it will release data on the recently completed surveillance sampling in the future.
For fiscal year 2016, FDA will sample and test cucumbers and hot peppers for Salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7, taking 1,600 samples of each commodity.
The agency said it also plans to test hot peppers for Shiga toxin producing E. coli.
The Food and Drug Administration will conduct whole genomic sequence testing on any samples that test positive.
In the future, the number of samples collected of a targeted commodity may vary, depending on the question(s) the agency intends to answer.
The Food and Drug Administration will evaluate the data or results generated throughout the sample collection period and use the data to inform the agency’s short and longer-term decision-making.
By developing these data sets, FDA said it is seeking to identify potential vulnerabilities and ways to enhance the food safety system.
Depending on the results, FDA may react or take certain steps, such as:
—Reducing sampling, if few positive samples are obtained;
—Implementing more targeted sampling if trends are identified; for example, if positive samples come from a specific geographic location, a specific facility, or during a particular season;
—Working with state or international regulatory partners to take corrective actions and implement preventive controls;
—Developing new or enhanced industry guidance; and
—Conducting outreach and information sharing to better protect consumers.
The Food Safety Modernization
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