Adapted from the original article, FDA Requires Faster Food Safety Reporting, by Matthew Perrone, AP Business Writer – September 9, 2009

The Food and Drug Administration now requires faster food safety reporting.  Food makers must alert government officials of potentially contaminated products within 24 hours under a new rule designed to help federal regulators spot food safety issues sooner. The FDA unveiled a new electronic database that manufacturers must use to notify the government if they believe one of their products is likely to cause sickness or death in people or animals.  Regulators said the database will help the FDA prevent widespread illness from contaminated products and direct inspectors to plants that pose a high safety concern.

Congress passed the law creating the database in 2007, after criticizing the FDA for its handling of safety problems with a range of foods and drugs.  This law is intended to reduce the lag time, and inform the FDA of contamination problems before people get sick.  The FDA has struggled to manage a slew of food-safety recalls, including national outbreaks of salmonella linked to peppers and peanut butter. Earlier this year, President Obama pledged to improve the safety of the nation’s food supply after tainted peanut butter from a Georgia plant sickened hundreds of Americans, causing one of the largest food recalls in recent history.

By working with the food industry, the FDA can swiftly remove contaminated products from commerce and keep them out of consumers’ hands. Although many companies already voluntarily submit reports about possible contamination, the new law makes it a duty of all food facilities. The food industry welcomed the new database, but the FDA must answer a number of questions about how it will work.  As with any new system there are bound to be a number of issues in the initial stages which the food industry hopes the FDA will take into account.   FDA officials also plan to use the database to analyze national trends in food safety and will report their findings to the public. 

If your company currently uses formula or recipe based bills of material, has manufacturing software in place that is over 3 years old or developed in house, or if you’ve experienced significant changes to your business, it’s time to give us a call.  We can help you handle the compliance requirements of the government and show you ways to make your business more profitable through well implemented automation.