January 9, 2013
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released new rules in order to make food safer for the American public. However, the guidelines indicate that the contamination happens at the farmer’s end by claiming that farm workers do not keep their hands clean, irrigation water is not clean enough and livestock roaming free in fields lends to contamination.
Food manufacturers are required to submit safety plans to the FDA to prove their facilities are keeping up with federal regulatory standards.
Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner of the FDA states that the new guidelines will prevent outbreaks that lead to diseases such as the 2011 listeria contamination in cantaloupe that caused 33 deaths. Jensen Farms in Colorado was responsible for having dirty conditions in their processing plant.
The new rules were signed by President Obama in 2011, yet their implementation was held back until after the 2012 presidential elections, although Congress had approved the legislation.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) redirects the focus from federal regulators in regard to responding to food safety issues and preventing contamination. The Secretary of Health and Human Services (SHHS) now handles such inquiries by imposing fees to “person (excluding farms and restaurants) who manufactures, processes, packs, distributes, receives, holds, or imports an article of food.”
Regulated food safety is controlled by records maintenance for facilities that produce or handle food production in any capacity.
In 2010, the FDA has received $780 million to set up the food safety center for the FSMA and claim that more money is needed to continue the program to the tune of $583 million by 2015.
Shelly Burgess, spokesperson for the FDA, said that the money is needed for resources such as re-inspections, leverages for partnerships and shifting from other programs.
Last year the FDA was contacted by Snokist Growers of Yakima, Washington. This is just one group trying to ensure “reworking” food is not a normal practice.
“I was appalled that there were actually human beings that were OK with this,” said Kantha Shelke, a food scientist and spokeswoman for the Institute of Food Technologists. “This is a case of unsafe food. They are trying to salvage that to make a buck.”
Shockingly, Jay Cole, former federal inspector who works with the FDA Group, says, “Any food can be reconditioned.”
• Perhaps pieces of pasta will be re-ground into semolina.
• Mislabeled blueberry ice cream mixed with chocolate to avoid waste.
• Insect parts discovered in cocoa beans.
• Live bugs “left behind” in dried fruits packages.
The FDA allowed food producers like Basic Food Flavors, Inc (BFF) to recondition their recalled items in 2010 by heat-treating their products to remove salmonella. BFF then reprocessed the food and distributed them for sale to the public.
The FDA justifies this unsafe practice by stating that it reduces water and saves money. Yet this occurs at the expense of public safety and health.
The FDA relies on defect action levels to define how dangerous a contaminant is in the food and how much enforcement of their policies they should engage the manufacturer in.
Basically, if making the food safe is too difficult, the FDA does not bother enforcing their safety policies.
Here are a few examples of allowable contaminants:
• In 8 ounces of macaroni there could be 225 insect fragments or 4.5 rodent hairs
• In 3.5 oz of canned mushrooms 20 or more maggots is ok
• In canned cranberry sauce there could be an average of 15% mold
If the processes approved by the FDA were rendering food safe for consumption, there would be less of an issue.
The FDA finds these levels acceptable because there would be too much stress on food producers to adhere to a more stringent policy for food safety.
Correll plainly says, “You can’t cook the poop out of [food].”
The FDA begun the Reportable Food Registry in 2009 to handle the overwhelming notifications to human health hazards their relaxed policies produced.
The problems were hard to decipher with domestic food processing corporations, but foreign import food corporations added a cog in the wheel. These corporations generally go to greater lengths to preserve the safety of their food; more so than the FDA.
As it stands, the FDA reconditions food that we purchase in grocery stores.
There is no way to know what foods are genuine and which have been reconditioned.Add This to Technorati Faves