The FDA emphasizes the importance of food safety culture and the Foodborne Outbreak Response Improvement Plan
The New Era of Smarter Food Safety, the FDA’s 2020 master plan for creating a more digital, traceable, and better food safety system, is reaching its second year of helping to bend the curve of foodborne illnesses. Among the four core elements of the New Era plan are food safety culture and smarter tools and approaches for prevention and outbreak response, which were the key topics of a collaborative discussion in the early quarter of 2022.
In February of this year, the FDA (in collaboration with Stop Foodborne Illnesses, a non-profit public health educational institution) organized a webinar on “how to make leaders risk-aware and push [them] to reduce risk.” The presentation focused on how food safety culture can help manage risks in food retail and other establishments. Some key takeaways are as follows:
- According to a survey by Lone Jespersen of Cultivata SA, typically only about 48% of top-level leaders in a company know about food safety risks! She recommends senior managers should learn more about processes via factory walk-throughs with front-line employees.
- Nancy Wilson of Wawa Foods suggests that a company should identify food safety issues and their business impact and try to find other partners outside of the food safety team who can align with the established food safety goals.
- “Food safety culture thrives when there is a bottom-up approach that engages not only the minds, but importantly the hearts of every employee,” said Randy Huffman of Maple Leaf Foods.
In mid-April, the FDA also hosted a webinar on their Foodborne Outbreak Response Improvement Plan (FORIP) which summarized the agency’s blueprint on how to enhance the speed, effectiveness, coordination, and communication of foodborne outbreak investigations. These investigations are essential for rapidly revealing the root cause of outbreaks to stop them and prevent future outbreaks. U.S. food safety regulatory experts provided their progress report summaries. Frank Yiannas, the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Report, aptly put it: “We must use modern-day tools [e.g., Whole Genome Sequencing, etc.] to meet modern-day needs when it comes to how FDA and the stakeholders respond to foodborne outbreaks.”
Remco is proud to have participated in the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety sessions, webinars, and discussions ever since its inception, and shares the vision of promoting smarter food safety by providing our end-users with high-quality color-coded material handling tools like scoops, tubs, scrapers, mixing paddles, and much more. As a Vikan company, we also distribute innovative, hygienically designed cleaning tools and solutions (such as brushes, brooms, and squeegees) to food producers and manufacturers based in North America. If you’d like to see how our solutions can help you improve food safety at your site, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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