Sunday, December 10, 2023

The California Food Safety Act sets a dangerous precedent

California’s ban on products with additives “sets a potentially dangerous precedent, reinforcing the need to integrate modern science and technology into the global food supply and its management,” Hitchcock wrote. on FoodNavigator-USA.

“While time and resources are limited, compliance with conflicting legislative and regulatory requirements diverts resources from other critical food safety, nutrition and sustainability priorities,” he added.

At the national level, Frank Yiannas, told FoodNavigator-USA that while Governor Newsom’s decision to protect the citizens of California is admirable, the state’s bypassing of federal processes “doesn’t serve the country.”

Businesses can expect to face a “number of one-time and ongoing costs”that

Hitchcock explained the future impact businesses will face in determining compliance requirements: “On January 1, 2027, the compliance date, food companies face the challenge of determining the impact of their products, supply chain, and business… for compliance against the new California requirements, some companies may take the opportunity to make other product and ingredient changes as well.

He continued, adding that companies can expect to face “many one-time and ongoing costs” when complying with new legislation or regulatory requirements, including “researching alternative ingredients, developing and testing alternative products, navigating higher ingredient costs, designing new labels, building new supply chains and more.”

Despite these considerations, he said compliance “can be achieved” and “will require focused collaboration across multiple technical and business roles to accomplish.”

Because of the deadline, Hitchcock urged companies to “immediately begin evaluating the impact of the new requirements” on individual products to assess the time and cost of identifying and implementing alternative components and solutions. reformation.

As a result, some companies may continue to distribute California-compliant products, or leave the market “depending on their individual business plans and priorities,” he added.

“By starting work as soon as possible, companies can reduce compliance costs by incorporating these changes into other planned activities over the next three years,” emphasized Hitchcock.

State food policy law “bad for country”that

Yiannas, who served on the White House Supply Chain Task Force for the Trump and Biden administrations, stressed that while states also share a responsibility for the safety of their citizens, a state-by-state law can get in the way. in production and availability of food, which threatens both. food safety and national security. He advocated a “universal standard of safe and accessible food.”

“We can have a… very chaotic state standards that are very difficult to navigate and ultimately prevent this country from producing an abundant supply… of available food; and states trying to navigate this patchwork of regulatory standards is a scary thought and it’s scary,” he said.

America’s food safety policy should ultimately be implemented by a federal agency, Yiannas affirmed.

“The issue is how are decisions best made? Is it best made by a state legislature that might have the expertise… or is the nation better off with decisions made by a federal agency … I can tell you unequivocally, with absolute authority, that this is bad for the country.

The California law is a “wake-up call” for the FDAthat

However, with a reputation for implementing decades-long policies and inspection processes that often stifle innovation within the food scene, paired with the tumultuous contrast between which operates the FDA and USDA in that scene, Yiannas added that the California law is a “wake-up call.” for the FDA to modernize itself into a more agile and focused organization.

“First of all, I think we should hope that this is a wake-up call for the FDA and for federal regulators and politicians, we should all be more concerned about national food policy… if a population is not have access to. safe and available food, that’s the beginning of important, meaningful trouble.”

“The organizational structure is inadequate”that

Yiannas credits the FDA’s most recent attempt at food safety standardization through its Unified Human Foods Program in the wake of the infant formula crisis. The program will handle food safety, chemical safety, nutrition, and other areas.

However, “the organizational structure alone is not enough,” Yiannas emphasized. He added that the FDA can listen to the private sector to enter into advanced tools and methods to facilitate and implement safety protocols that reflect the current concerns of consumers about the safety of ingredients and standard of production.

“I think this is a generational opportunity for the agency to take a deep look inside to say, ‘How do we change… the times we live in?” he declared.

“These modern times require more modern methods and we cannot use the same methods we used 20 years ago. For example, there are new tools and methodologies… like machine learning that destroy a lot of data… This is not just hope, it must happen if the FDA and federal agencies can not figure out how to speed up their work. and to try to stay only a few steps behind, not miles, behind in the private sector,” he stressed.

“I think we’re entering a new era where consumers are more concerned about chemical contaminants in food…but now we have methods that can detect chemicals down to parts per billion and parts per trillion. Without good scientific review or identification, people can use that to create fear, alarm and fear,” he added.

Division between FDA and USDA contributes to disproportionate “risk management” of food productsthat

As mentioned earlier, how to distinguish the FDA and USDA from one another, especially for the average consumer, is very nuanced.

The FDA oversees 80% of food while the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services is responsible for the remaining 20%. This difference can be reflected in the facilities that make the pizza, Yiannas explained. The facility that adds meat to the pizza is considered a high-risk contamination facility, which is inspected every 24 hours by the USDA. Meanwhile, meat-free facilities are subject to FDA inspections once every five years — highlighting gaps in “proportionate risk management of food products and … why it should matter -or the things.”

“There is no proportionate risk management of these food products and that is why things must change. That is why I am an advocate of a food safety agency… so that we can do more better risk prioritization, eliminate duplication of effort, gain efficiencies and perform better risk prioritization so that American taxpayer dollars are used in a way that protects consumers ,” he said.

State and federal partnerships “must be strengthened” for a unified federal food agencythat

It remains unclear whether the FDA will consolidate itself with another agency or completely separate itself into its own entity that includes USDA and FDA resources; however, Yiannas stressed his support for a food safety agency that works closely with the state’s health and agriculture departments that “plays a critical role in the country’s food safety net” and ” states must play an important role.

“I think a food safety strategy with a federal food agency should work closely with our states. I think the partnership should be strengthened,” he added.

“For example, if you’re working on a food safety issue involving produce… there are a couple of states that raise the lion’s share, but you have to involve state officials to get their input on no policy has yet been implemented… Make sure you Hear from them as you should engage with other stakeholder groups in public meetings,” he suggested.

Finally, Yiannas emphasized that when it comes to food safety, “we must keep our government officials in our federal agencies… the work processes,” which adapt to the flow of business and public health.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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