Looking Back at 2021: A decade of FSMA, a new allergen, and updated guidelines

This year marked a decade since the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) came into effect as a means to facilitate preventive control interventions and lower foodborne illness outbreaks. Of course, despite the food industry’s primary focus being on managing employee safety and handling supply chain logistics during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, food safety still featured as one of the essential consumer-centric requirements from regulatory, standards, and industrial initiative perspectives. 

The following highlights some key food safety-related developments that happened in 2021: 

Date 

Development 

April 23, 2021 

The Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act was signed into law, which adds sesame to the existing list of Big 8 major food allergens (joining milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree-nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy). This means that sesame must be labeled on all regulated packaged foods by Jan. 1, 2023. 

May 24, 2021 

The SQF Edition 9 Food Safety Codes, one of the GFSI Benchmarked global programs, became an auditable version standard. There is an enhanced focus on cross-contamination prevention and hygienic design, among other version improvements. 

July 2021 

New FSIS Guidelines for Controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter Bacteria in Raw Poultry were issued, which also relate to sanitation and HACCP requirements in poultry establishments. (It’s important to note: According to the CDC, Campylobacter and Salmonella are the #1 causes of bacterial foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S.). 

September 2021 

The Retail Food Safety Association Collaborative launched an interactive U.S. Food Code Adoption Map. Through this collaborative platform, agencies such as the FDA and CDC, among others, will work together to reduce incidences of foodborne illnesses in the retail food establishments. (Note: Over 60% of U.S. food illness outbreaks are related to food retail and foodservice establishments). 

October 2021 

The first ever New Era of Smarter Food Safety Summit on Retail E-Commerce Foods was organized and well-attended by the FDA, other U.S. agencies, industries, academia, and stakeholders from about 49 countries. The panel and public discussions were centered around cross-contamination prevention strategies during food delivery, among other food safety control interventions. 

October – November 2021 

multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Oranienburg involving whole fresh onions were traced to a farm in Mexico. As of November 12, the CDC reported there were 892 illnesses in 38 states and territories. The FDA recommends that anyone who received, or suspects having received recalled onions use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have touched these products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. This includes cleaning and sanitizing cutting boards, slicers, countertops, refrigerators, displays, and storage bins. 

  

Remco, as a supplier of color-coded, high-quality, and durable cleaning, hygiene, and material handling equipment, appreciates and fully supports the role of the food industry and the front-line workers in assuring food safety and sanitation.  

 We earnestly look forward to a healthy, prosperous, and stable 2022 for all. Meanwhile, we wish everyone happy holidays and a safe season! 

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