Full results of food safety inspections revealed
Source : https://www.henleystandard.co.uk/news/home/135108/full-results-of-food-safety-inspections-revealed.html
By henleystandard (Jan 21, 2019)
TWENTY-SIX pubs, restaurants and shops in the Henley area failed their most recent food safety inspection.
READ THE FULL RESULTS OF THIS YEAR'S SCORES ON THE DOORS FOOD SAFETY INSPECTIONS
Six businesses in Henley, 14 in surrounding towns and villages and six in Caversham and Emmer Green scored either one or two points out of five under the national Scores on the Doors scheme, which has just marked its 10th anniversary.
The scores mean “major” or “some” improvement is needed in the way food is handled, stored and prepared, the cleanliness of the premises or general food safety management.
A failure to keep full cleaning, delivery and staff training records or to label all produce with its preparation date, for example, can result in a low score even when there are no problems with the premises or the food itself.
By contrast, 292 businesses received five stars, which means hygiene standards were “very good”, 76 received four stars for “good” standards and 62 attained three stars, which means “generally satisfactory”.
The businesses that received one star were the Farm Kitchen restaurant at Swiss Farm in Henley, the Flower Pot in Aston, the Chef King Chinese restaurant in Goring, the Crown Inn at Benson, the Fox and Hounds at Christmas Common, the Greyhound pub in Whitchurch, Hemdean Stores (now H K Stores), Ketty’s Taste of Cyprus (Kyrenia) and Whitings butchers, all in Caversham and the Pearl River Chinese takeaway and the Village Tandoori, both in Emmer Green.
Henley businesses that received two stars were the Mezo Mediterranean restaurant and the Station House pub in Market Place, Patisserie Franco-Belge in Duke Street, the Thai Orchid restaurant in Hart Street and the Anchor pub in Friday Street.
The same rating was given to seven other pubs, the John Barleycorn pub in Manor Road, Goring, the New Inn in Kidmore End, the Crown at Playhatch, the Red Lion at Peppard, the Rising Sun at Witheridge Hill, the Unicorn at Kingwood and the New Inn in Knowl Hill.
Two stars were also received by the Village Plaice fish and chip shop in Benson, the Caversham Tandoori in Prospect Street in Caversham and the Weir Grove restaurant in Wargrave.
Scores on the Doors, which was launched in December 2008, is overseen by the Government’s Food Standards Agency and enforced by environmental health officers from local authorities, including South Oxfordshire District Council and Wokingham and Reading borough councils.
But some proprietors have criticised the scheme, saying it doesn’t reflect how clean or safe their premises are as they can lose marks for purely administrative failings such as missing paperwork.
Others wth five stars praised the scheme.
The Argyll pub in Market Place, Henley, got full marks at its last inspection in February 2017.
Landlord Neil Ainsworth says: “Scores on the Doors is a good measuring tool and I have always wanted to be compliant with its requirements as it helps us to maintain a good reputation.
“We’ve had a five-star rating for as long as I can remember and we work with the district council to continue to improve our offer. The paperwork element is very important because you need to document all that history.
“It’s not enough to just have one chef hand over informally to another and you can’t tell if food is safe just by looking at it.
“Some businesses have a ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude but meeting all those requirements takes only about 10 minutes a day and it benefits you by helping to keep up the best possible standards.”
The Three Horseshoes in Reading Road, Henley, scored five stars at its last inspection in August 2017.
Landlord Nigel Rainbow says: “It is an excellent system for making sure that every pub conforms to basic hygiene standards. We never know when they’ll be inspecting and nor should we. We’re very proud of our five-star rating and we have always been able to score five or four stars without much difficulty.
“The inspectors aren’t there to close you down but to help you understand how you can improve your hygiene, which is good for business. They give you time to make whatever improvements are needed and at the end of the day they’re only checking that you’re doing the things you should be doing as a matter of routine.”
For the full story and all the scores, see this week’s Henley Standard.
‘Nuclear option’ might get Brashears confirmed by U.S. Senate
Source : https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2019/01/nuclear-option-might-get-brashears-conformed-by-u-s-senate/
By Dan Flynn (Jan 21, 2019)
It might take the “nuclear option” to get the U.S. Senate to confirm the nomination of Texas Tech University Professor Mindy Brashears as the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety.
The post, the top food safety job in the federal government, has been vacant for more than five years.
President Donald J. Trump nominated Brashears for the position May 4, 2018, and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry unanimously recommended approval of her confirmation by the full Senate on Dec. 5.
But the 115th Congress expired without giving Brashears a floor vote and her nomination was returned to the president. She was not alone. The clock ran out on 270 Trump nominees who did not get a confirmation vote.
Senate Democrats have kept Trump appointees from confirmation by demanding a full 30 hours of floor debate before a vote.
The White House is expected to return Brashears nomination to the Senate as Senate Republicans are considering changing the rules so that debate before a confirmation vote would be limited to two or three hours in order clear the backlog.
After meeting behind closed doors last week, Senate Republicans acknowledged they might for the third time use the so-called “nuclear option” to get the confirmation vote process moving again.
The “nuclear option” refers to the changing Senate rules by simple majority vote. Former Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid was first to use the option so a majority vote could close debate on non-Supreme Court judges and cabinet appointees. GOP Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell used it so the debate on Supreme Court justices could be cut off by a majority vote.
If the Republicans use the “nuclear option” to limit debate time before a confirmation vote on presidential nominees, it could end up benefiting a future Democratic president.
Brashears is a Professor of Food Safety and Food Microbiology and the Director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University.
At Texas Tech University, she focuses much of her research on improving food safety standards. Brashears’s work evaluates interventions in pre- and post-harvest environments and on the emergence of antimicrobial drug resistance in animal feeding systems and has resulted in the commercialization of a pre-harvest feed additive that can reduce E. coli and Salmonella in cattle.
Additionally, she leads international research teams to Mexico, Central America, and South America to set up sustainable agriculture systems in impoverished areas. Brashears is past-chair of the National Alliance for Food Safety and Security and of the U.S. Department of Agriculture multi-state research group.
Once her nomination is sent back to The Hill, the Senate is expected to assign it to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. It is unclear whether the Committee will require another confirmation hearing or just refresh its vote for confirmation.
Two other top USDA posts also remain vacant pending Senate action on held-over appointees. They are Scott Hutchins as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics (REE), otherwise known as USDA chief scientist; and Naomi Earp for Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
Hutchins is an expert in integrated field sciences for Cortera Agriscience and an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska and previously served as president of the Entomological Society of America.
Earp is a retired career civil servant with more than 20 years of experience in federal equal opportunity policy, charge processing, complaint handling, and employment law.
She entered federal services as a GS-9 career employee and worked her way to the Senior Executive Service level prior to appointments as Chair and Vice Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President George W. Bush.
The three USDA jobs are among the 704 “key” government jobs requiring both a presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. During his first two years in the White House, President Trump gained Senate confirmation for 61.5 percent of his “key” appointees, according to a tracking project by the Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service.
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Hazardous meat and poultry recalls nearly double
Source : https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/news/78119/meat-recalls/
By newfoodmagazine.com (Jan 21, 2019)
With the ever-increasing food recalls because of contamination with various bacteria, flaws in current food safety systems can be seen.
From E. coli-infected romaine lettuce to Salmonella-tainted beef, contaminated foods lead to illnesses that sicken as many as 1 in 6 Americans annually, and far more globally.
In 2018, this epidemic helped spur major recalls, which caused stores and restaurants to toss millions of pounds of meat and produce. US PIRG Education Fund’s new report How Safe is Our Food?, reveals how fundamental flaws in our current food safety system have led to a jump in these recalls since 2013.
“The food we nourish our bodies with shouldn’t pose a serious health risk. But systemic failures mean we’re often rolling the dice when we go grocery shopping or eat out,” said Adam Garber, US PIRG Consumer Watchdog.
“We can prevent serious health risks by using common sense protections from farm to fork.”
Since the passage of the nation’s last significant food safety law, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011, many types of food recalls have increased substantially. While better science and more thorough investigations under FSMA account for some of the increased recalls, US PIRG found serious gaps in the food safety system throughout the same time period.
Key findings from the report include:
An 83 percent increase in meat and poultry recalls that can cause serious health problems: US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Class 1 recalls “involve a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause health problems or death.” This includes recalls of beef for E. coli, poultry for Salmonella, and others
Food recalls overall increased by 10 percent between 2013-2018: From crackers to children’s cereal to lettuce to meat, we’ve seen the total number of food recalls increase over the last six years
Archaic laws allow meat producers to sell contaminated products: It is currently legal to sell meat that tests positive for dangerous strains of Salmonella – a case study of the recent recall of 12 million pounds of beef sold by JBS could likely have been prevented if it this policy was changed
Bacteria-contaminated water used on vegetables and produce: A case study helps demonstrate how irrigation water polluted by fecal matter from a nearby cattle feedlot likely contaminated romaine lettuce with E. coli in the spring of 2018.
“These recalls are a warning to everyone that something is rotten in our fields and slaughterhouses. Government agencies need to make sure that the food that reaches people’s mouths won’t make them sick,” finished Viveth Karthikeyan, US PIRG Consumer Watchdog Associate.
Food safety falls short in the U.S., consumer group says
Source : https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/food-safety-falls-short-u-s-consumer-group-says-n960011
By Maggie Fox (Jan 18, 2019)
C ontaminated beef makes 333 people sick. Kosher poultry carrying Salmonella kills one person and puts 11 into the hospital. And, perhaps most startling, federal health officials tell Americans to stop eating all romaine lettuce because of an outbreak of E. coli.
If it seems like there are more food recalls lately, it’s because there are. And a new report Thursday from the Public Interest Research Group argues that federal health officials can and should be doing more to protect the U.S. food supply.
“These recalls are a warning to everyone that something is rotten in our fields and slaughterhouses. Government agencies need to make sure that the food that reaches people’s mouths won’t make them sick,” said Adam Garber, the group's consumer watchdog.
PIRG found a 10 percent increase in food recalls of all types between 2013 and 2018 across the U.S. Broken down by food type, there was a 67 percent increase in meat and poultry recalls and a 2 percent rise in produce and processed food recalls, according to the group’s analysis of federal government data.
And while the government says the U.S. food supply is very safe, the consumer group says it could be safer.
“There are systemic failures in the food system, which means that we are still rolling the dice when we go food shopping,” PIRG’S Viveth Karthikeyan, who worked on the report, told NBC News.
“Americans should be confident that their food is safe and uncontaminated.”
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention argue that much of the increase in recalls is due to better detection and monitoring. Genetic fingerprinting means that what looked like many unrelated cases of illness can now be traced to a common source, and that can prompt a recall that protects thousands more.
“We do agree that some of the recalls are due to the government being better at monitoring and surveillance,” Karthikeyan said. But he said the government has not implemented rules that would make food even safer, and retailers are not doing enough to make sure customers learn quickly about recalls.
Other groups have made similar complaints. Earlier this month, the Pew Trusts' Sandra Eskin said the two recalls of romaine lettuce this year demonstrated that FDA needs to move quickly to implement rules about testing water for contamination.
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Some of the beefs that PIRG has with the food safety system:
Meat production is largely self-regulated
Produce growers are not required to check their irrigation water for bacteria
Food producers or retailers are not punished for repeat offenses
There’s no coherent system for warning people they may have purchased contaminated food
The U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees the safety of meat and poultry, and tells consumers to expect that chicken carcasses, for instance, are likely to carry salmonella. That’s why people are warned against allowing raw meat to touch anything that might go straight to a person’s mouth, and that’s why there are so many guidelines about cooking food to germ-killing temperatures.
“The USDA went so far as to call feces contaminating animals a ‘cosmetic blemish’, allowing the livestock to be processed after rinsing off the offending matter,” the report reads.
Karthikeyan agrees that it’s not reasonable to expect food to be sterile, but the groups would like to see policies in place that at least state that bacterial contamination is undesirable.
Another problem area is factory farms. “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, also known as factory farms, are sometimes a conduit for contamination of meat because overcrowded conditions mean that when one animal gets sick, they pass the disease on to other animals,” the group said.
Not only does meat get contaminated, but the manure from intensively farmed animals gets onto nearby fields and into water supplies. That may have been the source of outbreaks of E. coli that forced several recalls of salad greens in recent years, including two romaine lettuce recalls.
The 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act directed FDA to reform its food safety regulations. The agency issued a final rule in 2015 that gave growers until early this year, rolling into 2022, to test water quality. But the FDA delayed implementing the rule last year.
"FDA must end these delays and promptly finish any revisions to the initial water standard," Pew's Eskin said.
Also last year, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said he was having the agency investigate better ways to use technology to monitor food from farm to table so that outbreaks don’t take weeks or months to trace. The PIRG report supports this and urges FDA to move quickly.
“It could take weeks to locate the source of an outbreak in something like fruit and vegetables by which time dozens of people could have gotten sick because the food is perishable,” the report reads.
“Delays risk serious health consequences and point to the need to streamline the process of agriculture supply chain transparency.”
Even when the food is not perishable, it can take weeks and months to recall. Honey Smacks cereal was recalled last June, but the CDC kept finding affected product on store shelves well into the fall.
“When risky products make it to stores, we need to ensure that removing products from shelves, company stocks, and consumers’ homes happens completely and at lightning speed,” the report reads.
Contaminated food is an extremely common problem. The CDC estimates that germs in food make 48 million Americans sick every year — that’s one out of six people. About 128,000 are made sick enough to be hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
Food safety data to become open access – EFSA
Source : https://www.governmenteuropa.eu/food-safety-data/91953/
By (Jan 18, 2019)
The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) has announced it will publish the food safety data it collects and uses in its monitoring programmes and surveys.
Mary Gilsenan, head of EFSA’s Evidence Management Unit, said: “Making this data freely available will mark a significant milestone for the Member States who provide so much of the data we use, and for EFSA itself. For the first time, when we publish certain scientific outputs we will simultaneously make available all the data used in the assessment. This will give us a food safety data publication process that is timely, comparable, interoperable and accessible. Open data is a key enabler for transparency, accountability and evidence-based decision-making. Moving from data-on-demand to a proactive data-by-default approach is a positive move for EFSA and all our stakeholders.”
The food safety data, which will be published in full on EFSA’s curated open repository Knowledge Junction, will include information pertaining to:
Food consumption habits;
Residues of pesticides, chemical contaminants and additives in food;
Outbreaks of disease borne in food; and
The first datasets will be made public this year on Knowledge Junction, which was established in 2016 to improve transparency and reproducibility of food safety data collected and used in EFSA’s risk assessments. The move comes as part of a wider effort across the EU to promote public access to information and data; and falls in line with one of EFSA’s key strategic objectives: to maximise public access to the data it holds and widen its available base of evidence.
Ms Gilsenan said: “We hope our report will help to stimulate the adoption of an open data policy in the food safety domain across Europe. Access to open food safety data can help consumers to make healthy choices, enhance food safety monitoring systems and drive innovation in the food production sector.”
4 Principles of Food Safety
Source : https://www.virtual-college.co.uk/news/food-hygiene/2019/01/4-principles-of-food-safety
By Virtual College (Jan 18, 2019)
Why is Food Safety important?
Food safety is something that anyone and everyone should be able to practice, whether at home or in the workplace. However, it’s not always clear how to ensure that hazards such foodborne illnesses can be avoided, and there can be a lot of different things to think about. This is why various authorities have introduced four principles of food safety in order to help make things clearer to understand, and easier to remember. In the UK and EU, these are generally known as the four Cs, and the USDA in the United States they’re simply known as the four principles. Let’s find out what each of them means.
The spread of germs is one of the largest causes of foodborne illnesses, which is why it’s important to remember that a clean kitchen is a safe kitchen. Hands are the number one culprit in this regard. It’s all too easy to bring germs into contact with food if you’ve not thoroughly washed your hands before getting started.
This must be done with hot, soapy water, and needs to extend right to your forearms. If you’re unsure about how to make certain you’ve done it properly, then there are instructional guides available to show you how to cover all of your hands.
Leading on from this is of course the kitchen environment in general. You must ensure that all work surfaces are thoroughly cleaned, and free from cleaning chemicals, before you use them. This extends to appliances and utensils too.
The point of chilling certain items of food is that the cold environment slows down or stops the reproduction and spread of certain bacteria. This is especially true for fresh and opened food items, which are likely to come into contact with small non-harmful amounts of bacteria in the course of production. By keeping them cool, you can ensure that they stay safe to eat for a predictable amount of time, because bacteria does not have time to reproduce and spread. As a general rule, items that should be refrigerated need to be kept at temperatures below five degrees Celsius. Those working in commercial kitchens and food preparation areas will need to continually monitor their fridges to ensure that they are at the correct temperature. It’s worth noting that most food items will keep for longer when kept in the fridge, though it’s not essential for non-perishables such as tinned goods.
Cooking is part of the process that ensures that food being prepared is safe to eat. Raw foods, as we have already mentioned, will contain bacteria, some of which can be harmful. By properly cooking raw food such as meat and fish, which are high risk items, the bacteria killed, and the food made safe to eat. In order to be adhering to this important principle, it is essential that food is cooked properly. This is to say that it has reached a high enough temperature throughout to kill most bacteria. As a general rule, 75 degrees celsius at the very centre of the food will ensure that it’s safe. One important point to remember however is that cooking food only kills bacteria - it does not generally remove harmful chemicals that may be present as the result of excessive bacteria. This is why food cannot be safely cooked once it has already gone bad.
The final point to think about is the cross-contamination of food, which brings together several of the above principles. All of the work you put into ensuring that food is free from bacteria, stored and cooked appropriately can be undone if you allow the cross contamination of the wrong kinds of food. For example, salad may not need to be cooked before it is eaten, but if it comes into contact with meats that do, then it may be contaminated with harmful bacteria. For this reason, all work surfaces and utensils need to be cleaned between uses, and differing types of food need to be stored separately. Fresh meats for example need to be kept at the bottom of the fridge, so that the risk of anything dripping down onto other foods is reduced. This point is especially important when it comes to allergies - you cannot guarantee the safety of food if you cannot be certain that it has not come into contact with allergens.
For more comprehensive information about food safety, the Level 2 Food Hygiene course may be of use. This is the standard course for all those who work with food. Our online food safety training can be completed remotely by anyone, and comprises engaging and interactive material.
Unpaid FDA Workers Resume High-Risk Food Inspections
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/unpaid-fda-workers-resume-high-risk-food-inspections/
By Staff (Jan 17, 2019)
Unpaid FDA Workers Resume High-Risk Food Inspections
On Tuesday, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors and other staff members returned to work in an effort to resume oversight of high-risk food facilities, according to a Washington Post report. The move was made possible with approval from the Office of Management and Budget, and the Department of Health and Human Services, says FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
Previously, the shutdown had put routine inspections of domestic food processing plants on hold. Now, high-risk facilities--those that manufacture seafood, baby formula, some soft cheese products, and plants that have a history of food safety issues--are being inspected again. Inspections related to food product recalls and foodborne outbreaks have not been affected by the government shutdown.
In a typical week, FDA completes about 160 routine inspections. Usually, about one-third of those are performed at high-risk facilities.
Despite returning to work, the workers--150 of them focused solely on food safety--remain unpaid as the partial government shutdown continues. Inspections of low-risk food processing facilities have not yet resumed.
Falling short: EU audit report reveals seriously overstretched food safety system
Source : https://www.foodingredientsfirst.com/news/falling-short-eu-audit-report-reveals-seriously-overstretched-food-safety-system.html
By Gaynor Selby (Jan 16, 2019)
A new European Court of Auditors report has stressed that although the EU food safety system for protecting consumers from chemical hazards in food is soundly based and respected worldwide, it is falling seriously short. This is because the system is vastly overstretched, with the European Commission (EC) and member states struggling to implement the system fully.
The legal framework governing chemicals in food, feed and plants and live animals remains a work in progress, according to auditors, and has not yet been implemented to the level envisaged in EU laws governing food production.
Additionally, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which provides scientific advice to inform European policymaking, suffers backlogs in its work in connection with chemicals. This affects the proper functioning of parts of the system and the sustainability of the model as a whole.
Speaking with FoodIngredientsFirst, Janusz Wojciechowski, Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report, details some of the consequences of the system being overstretched.
“Although we clearly underline we have a very good and ambitious model in Europe, we point out that such ambitious models also mean an investment of many resources for its implementation and warn that these resources are not unlimited,” he says.
“To overcome this, we recommend assessing potential changes in EU law, taking into account the actual capacity to apply the model. In addition, we recommend identifying a way forward towards a greater complementarity between the private and the public sector, which is one of the key factors ensuring the EU model remains credible and sustainable.”
“The EC has accepted these recommendations, as well as all the others we have made in the report. We now expect a political discussion to take place at Parliament and Council, as well as Commission’s action to remedy this weakness.”
One of the concrete consequences of the system being overstretched is that some groups of substances (such as pesticides) are much more frequently checked than others (additives, for example) without a clear reasoning why this is so, explains Wojciechowski. In addition, enforcement actions are not always properly applied, he says.
Checks by public bodies can only ever make up a small proportion of all checks carried out, according to the auditors, and the EU model can best remain credible if public- and private-sector control systems complement each other. However, synergies between the two have only just started to be explored.
Some member states’ controls cover certain chemicals more frequently than others and their legal frameworks are so extensive that public authorities find it difficult to fulfil all their responsibilities.
A consequence at the EU level is that EFSA suffers backlogs while the pressure to approve new substances increasingly mounts, notes Wojciechowski.
“In the area of additives, for example, the EU established a Union list of additives authorized for use in foods in 2011. Currently, the list contains 334 food additives. However, the legislator in 2008 deemed a mandatory re-evaluation necessary for 316 of these additives in order to decide whether or not to keep them on the list. Until August 2018, 175 additives had been re-evaluated.”
The legal deadline to complete the re-evaluation program is the end of 2020, stresses Wojciechowski, but this may be affected by the current EFSA workload.
“Another example would be that for food enzymes, the 2008 Regulation requires the EU to draw up a list of authorized food enzymes. However, ten years have passed and the Commission has not yet drawn up any such list.”
“Member States could have their own provisions, but in reality they rarely do. As a result, some of the substances which the EU law promises to be under control are actually not fully regulated and therefore cannot be checked. In such cases, enforcement cannot take place either.”
Food safety is a high priority for the EU with the EU’s food safety policy founded on the primary responsibility of private operators, aiming to keep people safe from illness caused by the food they eat. Food safety potentially affects the health of all citizens and is closely linked both to ensuring free movement of food and animal feed within the EU and facilitating global trade of safe feed and food.
European food law aims to “guarantee a high level of protection of human life and health” and the Commission emphasizes the importance of the policy, stating that “guaranteeing that food sold in the EU remains safe is at the center of a Europe that protects.”
However, the findings of the just-released report – Chemical hazards in our food: EU food safety policy protects us but faces challenges – paints a picture of the difficulties and challenges experienced across the EU in terms of implementing the model laid down in food safety policy.
CPMA supports introduction of new food safety laws
Source : https://www.freshplaza.com/article/9062098/cpma-supports-introduction-of-new-food-safety-laws/
By freshplaza.com (Jan 15, 2019)
The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) said it is ready to support the introduction of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). The SFCR officially came into effect January 15, 2019.
The purpose of the SFCR, as described by the CFIA, is to “make our food system even safer by focusing on prevention and allowing for faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace. They will reduce unnecessary administrative burden on businesses by replacing 14 sets of regulations with one, and will help maintain and grow market access for Canada's agri-food and agricultural sector.”
The SFCR, in concert with the Food Safety Systems Recognition Arrangement, allows Canadian producers to work under one set of food safety regulations (SFCR) while still being recognized by our biggest trading partner, the U.S.
Jeff Hall, CPMA’s Food Safety Specialist said: “Canadian consumers can be confident that foods regulated by the SFCR have been grown, manufactured or imported in a system designed to manage the risks associated with the products. I look forward to assisting CPMA members as they transition to working under the SFCR.”
“CPMA would like to thank the CFIA for the collaborative approach they have taken during the development of the Safe Food for Canadians Act and its subsequent regulations,” said Ron Lemaire, CPMA President. “These regulations allow businesses to be innovative while still ensuring they manage the risks associated with their products.”
For questions related to the SFCR, please contact Jeff Hall, CPMA’s Food Safety Specialist, at 1-647-409-3570.
New regulations on food safety implemented across Canada today
Source : https://dailyhive.com/montreal/new-food-safety-regulations-canada-january-15-2019
By Daily Hive Staff (Jan 15, 2019)
A new era of food safety begins today for Canadians, thanks to updated regulations being implemented across the country.
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced that the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into effect today, which means “focusing on prevention and allowing for faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace.”
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“These new rules also mean greater market access opportunities for Canadian food products exported abroad. In addition, they will reduce the unnecessary administrative burden placed on businesses by replacing 14 sets of regulations with one,” read the official statement from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
“Under the updated SFCR, food businesses that import or prepare food for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial boundaries must have a licence.”
Food businesses are now also required to have “preventive controls that outline steps to address potential risks to food safety, and to trace their food back to their supplier and forward to businesses who bought their products.”
Some requirements will be in force immediately while others will be phased in over the next 12-30 months, depending on the food commodity, type of activity, and business size.
“Business owners are encouraged to consult the sector-specific timelines on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website to determine if and when new requirements apply to them.”
When it comes to how this update with affect suppliers to and from the US, the States has recently made it a requirement for all Canadian businesses that export food to meet their new food safety standards.
The SFCR will permit Canadian food businesses to acquire a licence that demonstrates that they meet the requirements under the US Foreign Supplier Verification Program so that they can continue trading with the United States.
Some American food safety inspections aren't happening due to the government shutdown, and it could mean more food-poisoning outbreaks
Source : https://www.businessinsider.com/government-shutdown-more-food-poisoning-outbreaks-fda-usda-effects-2019-1
By Kate Taylor and Bob Bryan (Jan 14, 2019)
The government shutdown could lead to a perhaps unexpected negative consequence: more food-poisoning outbreaks.
With the fight over President Donald Trump's demands for a wall along the US-Mexico border dragging on into a record-shattering 24th day, some food-safety functions of the US government are going untended. According to some experts, the shutdown's effects should make Americans concerned about food-poisoning outbreaks.
Two major agencies oversee food-safety inspections in the US: the Food and Drug Administration, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services; and the Food Safety and Inspection Service, a division of the US Department of Agriculture.
The FSIS oversees inspections of meat, poultry, and eggs, while the FDA looks after the rest.
According to the USDA's shutdown plan, FSIS employees are deemed "essential," and inspections conducted by the agency will continue. But employees carrying out those inspections are not paid.
By contrast, the FDA's plan determined that while limited inspections would continue during the shutdown — such as inspections of imported foods — a majority of food operations would be shut down.
Read more: The effects of the shutdown will get exponentially worse if the fight drags on
"FDA would be unable to support some routine regulatory and compliance activities," the FDA plan said. "This includes some medical product, animal drug, and most food related activities. FDA will also pause routine establishment inspections, cosmetics and nutrition work, and many ongoing research activities."
In addition, the FDA deemed that employees responsible for responding to outbreaks of foodborne illness were essential. But those measures are for response, rather than the inspections that could prevent an outbreak.
"I'd say you should be very worried about your food safety, in part because the work that's not being done right now is the work that's needed to prevent the next outbreak of foodborne illness," Sarah Sorscher, a deputy director of regulatory affairs at the consumer watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest, told Public Radio International.
According to the FDA's plan, 41% of all employees are on furlough, meaning the workers are not receiving pay and are barred from coming to work. Only 11% of FSIS workers are furloughed in that agency's plan.
Following public concerns about food safety, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted Sunday that the agency is reassessing its shutdown plan and will bring back some employees to work on food safety operations. The change, Gottlieb said, was due to the unprecedented length of the funding lapse.
"Given the prolonged shutdown and compounding risk as time accrues; FDA is working to operationalize additional activities that exceed what we've done in past shutdown situations," the FDA Commissioner tweeted.
According to Gottlieb, the resumed activities include expanded "for-cause" inspections, increased sampling of high-risk food and drugs, and more. It was not immediately clear how many employees this change will affect.
But even those FSIS and FDA employees who are still on the job are facing financial woes because of the lack of pay. Unpaid employees in other agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration, are said to be calling in sick in large numbers, and problems in those departments are adding up.
In its shutdown plan, the FSIS said problems with safety would worsen as a shutdown dragged on.
"A lengthy hiatus would affect the safety of human life and have serious adverse effects on the industry, the consumer and the Agency," the report said.
Bill Marler, an attorney specializing in food-poisoning outbreaks who has won more than $600 million for clients in foodborne-illness cases, pointed out that the real possibility of not receiving a paycheck on January 15 was also most likely affecting the inspectors remaining on the job.
"Seriously, can we expect, as the shutdown stumbles into week two, that inspectors' focus are solely on preventing the next E. coli, Salmonella or Listeria outbreak?" Marler wrote in a blog post.
When asked by Business Insider what people could do to avoid another food-poisoning outbreak, Marler had just one suggestion.
"Call and write the president," Marler said in an email.
Changes to food safety regulations have small businesses concerned
Source : https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/food-safety-changes-1.4976673
By Emma Davie (Jan 13, 2019)
Small businesses in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are worried about changes to Canada's food safety regulations that they say will make it harder to sell across provincial lines starting this week.
The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, which go into effect on Jan. 15, clear up grey areas that previously meant businesses with provincial licences could sell up to 20 kilograms of food products into another province.
Kent Coates, the owner of Nature's Route Farm in Pointe de Bute, N.B., said he sells vegetables at farm markets in New Brunswick most of the time.
But he does sell a bit in nearby Nova Scotia — mostly to other farmers to supplement their inventory when they sell out.
On Tuesday, that has to stop until Coates gets a federal licence.
"It obviously takes time away from us doing what we're here to do, which is to grow food," he said.
'It's not completely clear'
"And it obviously adds cost to our process because every moment that I spend doing the administration stuff just to be able to sell my food is time that I'm not spending taking care of my crops. So I have to replace that with staff that take care of my crops."
Coates also said it hasn't been easy figuring out what licence he needs and how to get it.
"It's not completely clear," he said. "Somewhere there's someone that knows exactly what I need. But as with all large organizations, when you call [the] 1-800 number you don't talk to that one person in the organization that understands what's happening."
Willem van den Hoek, owner of That Dutchman's Cheese Farm, said he used to sell his cheeses online across the country.
But starting next week, he can't. He said he doesn't want to get a federal licence because of the cost and more rigorous controls, which means he's losing about five per cent of his business.
"They closed that allowance and that has impacted us. It's not a lot, but it's a job for somebody here," he said.
"I'd just like to see the reasoning why [they made these changes.]"
Lyzette Lamondin, executive director of food safety and consumer protection at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said the reason why is simple — food safety.
"When we did the new regulations, we went through them with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that there's nothing in there that isn't absolutely necessary and warranted for food safety," she said.
"Consumers expect that we as the CFIA are doing everything in our power to ensure that the food that they purchase is as safe as it can be."
Former rules unclear
But Lamondin said the former rules allowing provincially-licensed businesses to sell up to 20 kg out of province were never intended to be for the producer.
She said it's actually an allowance for the consumer, allowing them to bring in a product from another province of less than 20 kg — and that hasn't changed. But she admits the former rules were murky.
"That lack of clarity probably led to some confusion over time of how the exception would be applied and to whom. The new regulations make it crystal clear," she said.
"As soon as they decide to sell into another province they need that CFIA licence."
U.S. officials declare end to outbreak from romaine lettuce
Lamondin also said she understands that the federal requirements are more stringent . For small businesses, it's going to be "a step up in terms of expectations."
If people continue to sell outside of their province without a federal licence after Tuesday, Lamondin said they'll run into trouble. But she couldn't say what the punishment might look like.
"The most important thing though we would say is, by selling outside of the province, you have triggered federal regulation," Lamondin said.
"So please get yourself a CFIA licence ... and then you will be operating without any any worries."
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