Obama Signs Landmark
Food Safety Modernization Act
On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA; H.R. 2571). As the most significant food safety legislation of the last 100 years, this law is designed to improve the U.S. food
safety system by providing the FDA with additional resources to prevent
contaminated food from entering the food supply chain. It also contains
landmark whistleblower protections for food safety employees.
Highlights of the Food Safety Whistleblower Provision:
• Covers all employers “engaged in the manufacture, processing, packing,
transportation, distribution, reception, holding or importation of food;”
• Allows workers to have their case heard before a jury in federal court;
• Provides for reinstatement, back pay and compensatory damages.
Richard Renner, Legal Director of the National Whistleblowers Center,
made the following statement:
“The FSMA will save American lives by protecting the millions of
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American workers who grow, process, store and deliver our food. Those
workers now have modern whistleblower protections when they raise con-
cerns about the safety of our food.”
The FSMA fills an important loophole left by the Consumer Product
Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in 2008. CPSIA does not cover food or
medical devices. The FSMA is the first law to provide whistleblower protec-
tions for workers covered by regulations of the FDA.
Increasing food safety concerns and growing agricultural trade have
resulted in stringent enforcement of pesticide regulations globally.
Three different groups describe innovative methods for the detection of
pesticides in food. Two of the studies, which use the QuEChERS approach, examine dietary supplements (Developing New Methods for
Pesticides in Dietary Supplements by scientists at Restek Corporation)
and olive oil (Evaluation of a QuEChERS Sample Preparation Approach
and Pesticides Analysis by uECD by scientists at Agilent Technologies),
respectively, while the third describes a liquid chromatography/mass
spectrometry method for use in complex food samples (LC/MS Platform Accurately and Simultaneously Detects 510 Pesticides in Complex
Food Samples by scientists at Thermo Fisher Scientific).
FDA Selects AB SCIEX to Provide
Systems for Food Testing
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has purchased eight AB
SCIEX QTRAP® 5500 Systems for analysis of the U.S. food supply. These
mass spectrometry (MS) systems will be deployed at FDA headquarters and
seven field laboratories. The FDA conducts ongoing monitoring of the
food supply, utilizing advanced analytical methods to detect chemical contaminants. For example, the FDA samples individual lots of domestically
produced and imported foods and analyzes them for pesticide residues. The
FDA’s criteria for selecting a new analytical solution to improve results required liquid chromatography/tandem MS technology that integrates quantitative and qualitative analysis on the same platform and performs
automated identification of a wide range of contaminants simultaneously.
FDA Awards SDIX
Method Equivalency for
SDIX™, a supplier of rapid detection solutions
to the $1 billion food pathogen testing market,
has announced that its RapidChek® SELECT™
Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) test system has been
reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and determined to be equivalent in accuracy, precision and sensitivity to their current
standard methods for poultry house environmental drag swabs and pooled egg testing. For
pooled egg testing, this method is considered by
FDA as equivalent to its standard test without a
96-hour hold period, thus delivering results with a
substantial time and cost advantage.
The FDA Final Rule dictates that if SE is found
in the layer environment, eggs must then be
screened for the presence of SE to keep contaminated eggs from reaching the consumer market.
With this FDA equivalency ruling, SDIX can offer
U.S. egg producers an easier, faster and cost effective way to comply with that FDA regulation.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s FoodNet surveillance system,
Salmonella is not only the most common food-borne bacterial pathogen with over 1 million estimated cases annually in the U.S., but it is also
responsible for more hospitalizations and more
deaths—almost 400 annually—than any other
Highlights of the FSM eDigest
Articles in our January eDigest (available at
the eDigest archives at
focus on the implications of the Food Safety
Modernization Act (FSMA) for the food industry. Jennifer C. McEntire, Ph.D. and William
Fisher, MS of The Institute of Food Technologists discuss product tracing, performance
standards, accreditation of third-party auditors
and preventive controls as areas of greatest
impact. Additionally, Carolyne R. Hathaway,
John R. Manthei, Rebecca M. Schaefer and
Elizabeth M. Richards share their overview of
the FSMA from a legal perspective.