As an AFDO industry member, Remco Products Corporation is proud to have participated in the 121st Association of Food and Drug Officials Conference this June. Over 400 members from federal, state, and local agencies, as well as members of industry groups, trade associations, consumer organizations, and academia, made the trip to Houston for the recent conference.
AFDO has, over time, become a recognized voice in promoting uniform, simplified, and efficient laws, regulations and guidelines related to food safety and public health. Their humble beginning predates the existence of the FDA by 10 years when in 1896, two state commissioners from Michigan and Ohio met in Toledo to discuss the difficulties of manufacturing food in one state and shipping it to another, where the same product may not have complied with the local statutory regulations.
The push for states to collaborate and come to a mutually acceptable solution eventually resulted in a streamlined regulatory solution across the states. With time, AFDO became a forerunner in publishing model codes and guidance for various foods, which have been used to formulate aligned state regulations. The defining moment arrived in 1998, when AFDO was the first to offer a vision of a national Integrated Food Safety System (IFSS) that would empower state and local authorities to collaborate effectively with their federal counterparts. The crowning glory came with the passage of FSMA in 2011, which shifted the FDA’s focus from the reactive to the preventive mode of addressing food safety risks, which also mandated the adoption of IFSS across the food supply network.
The 121st AFDO Conference was informative and covered many food safety and regulatory topics. Some of the important presentations delivered were on:
- The role of CDC’s National Environmental Reporting System as an assessment tool for investigating foodborne disease outbreaks.
- The importance of online tools like FoodSHIELD that promote real-time collaboration between agencies to help respond effectively whenever there is a food safety issue.
- E-commerce trends and how it influences pick-and-pack grocery delivery.
- The emerging use of social media to track public views and respond to foodborne illness outbreaks.
- The culture of clean, and an industry perspective of detergents and sanitizers.
- The benefits of third party auditing in driving a food safety culture in an organization.
- The importance of maintaining sanitary conditions in a facility to prevent the potential for criminal liability if a firm is linked to an outbreak.
- The problems faced by state and local agencies when regulating leased commercial kitchens and viable recommendations to solving the food safety challenges.
- Greater focus on continuous training, development, and collaboration between inspectors from various agencies mainly through the activities of Partnership for Food Protection and through the education programs of International Food Protection Training Institute.
- The hurdles and opportunities encountered when regulating the cannabis industry.
In its quest towards a true IFSS, AFDO has stood for its values – to connect the public and private sectors, to share scientific knowledge, best practices, and collaborate on mutual goals, to impact the regulatory environment positively by speaking in one unified voice, and to protect public health and the welfare of the community.
Remco Products Corporation, your partners in hygiene, is aware of regulation’s role in shaping the future of our industry, and our team is always working to consistently provide high-quality, color-coded, material handling and hygienically designed tools and implements to our clients in the food and beverage sector.