Alison Bodor, president and chief executive officer of the Arlington, Virginia-headquartered American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), on July 13 offered the following statement on the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) plans to create a more digital, traceable and safer food system.
“The frozen food industry is committed to advancing food safety and we are appreciative of FDA’s pandemic response and commend FDA for proactively identifying ways to use new and emerging technologies to continue to provide Americans with the safest possible food supply.
“The agency’s new plan builds on the many improvements seen through the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the frozen food industry is committed to continuing this comprehensive, risk-based approach to food safety. We look forward to continuing to work with FDA in its efforts to modernize food safety oversight.”
Dr. Sanjay Gummalla, AFFI’s senior vice president of scientific affairs, provided oral remarks during FDA’s public meeting last October and AFFI also submitted written comments on behalf of the frozen food industry. The comments focused on key priority areas of work the agency has since outlined:
- Tech-Enabled Traceability and Foodborne Outbreak Response: AFFI agrees that there could be significant benefits to enhancing agency and industry communications surrounding recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks. In addition, AFFI believes that any new traceability standards should be risk-based and built on existing requirements. AFFI looks forward to working with FDA to ensure practical data standards are developed.
- Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention: The association strongly supports the agency’s efforts to identify more effective tools and approaches to preventing foodborne illness outbreaks. AFFI believes developing smarter tools for prevention, like strengthening procedures for root cause analysis, have the greatest potential for achieving public health benefits.
- Food Safety Culture: AFFI supports FDA’s continued focus on fostering a culture of food safety and particularly the agency’s recognition that this work must include not just regulators and industry, but consumers as well. The association believes the blueprint can build upon FSMA’s progress in achieving public health goals and meeting consumer expectations.
NFI Applauds Smart and Safe Food Safety Framework
John Connelly, president of the McLean, Virginia-headquartered National Fisheries Institute (NFI), also weighed in on the FDA’s Smarter Food Safety Blueprint.
Noting that the agency plans to rapidly evolve its regulatory approach in an age of unprecedented technological advancement, Connelly said: “Forecasting unique demands on the future value chain will help FDA identify and whenever possible neutralize challenges. In just the past few months, the seafood market has changed and the seafood community and FDA have worked to keep our food supply safe with a rigorous yet flexible approach:
He concluded: “We are pleased to see the Trump Administration embracing a food safety framework for the future that is both smart and safe.”