FDA Releases "New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint"

In May 2019 the FDA established what was described as a new era of smarter food safety initiative. The initiative was designed to augment the efforts of implementing FSMA requirements while leveraging the use of new and emerging technologies at the same time. The FDA announcement released the "New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint" outlining essential actions that should be taken to establish a new culture of food safety. Let's take a closer look at the core elements of the document.

Enhanced traceability

When food contamination occurs, it is important to quickly trace contaminated food back to its source. According to the FDA, tracing should be possible within minutes, not hours or even days. Therefore, the FDA aims to identify ways to encourage food manufacturers to implement track and trace technologies. The better the traceability, the better the transparency in the supply chain. In addition, a combination of track and trace technology with analytical tools could help to identify potential problems in advance and help to reduce their impact.

The power of new data streams

It's all about collecting and utilizing data, especially when it comes to achieving greater traceability and predictive analysis. The data collected is used to implement strategic and preventive measures to ensure food safety. The FDA has been working on a pilot program based on leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to strengthen the agency's review of imported foods at ports of entry. The FDA states that the use of AI and other preventive tools would not only save an immense amount of time in detecting contaminated food, but would also save lives.

New business models

Experts believe that over the next ten years, we will see more innovation in the agricultural, food production and food distribution sectors than in the past 20 years. New business models include novel ways of producing foods and ingredients. This leads to an even greater variety of benefits for consumers on one hand, but to a growing number of food safety challenges on the other. The FDA says when looking at the business models of the future, they intend to "ensure that as food technology evolves, our oversight evolves along with it, to help ensure food safety".

A new culture of food safety

Another core element of focus for the blueprint is the strengthening of the food safety culture on farms and in food facilities. A strong food safety culture is not just about implementing tools to achieve food safety and addressing this topic in food production facilities, it is also about keeping food workers safe and about educating consumers. The FDA aims to support this by looking within their own ranks to see how they can approach these issues differently and by encouraging the food industry to make changes.

You can download the full blueprint from the website of the FDA.