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FDA launches food safety alert portal

8 September 2009 1,434 views No Comment

The Food and Drug Administration today launched the Reportable Food Registry, an electronic portal that food industry officials must use to alert the agency when discovering food products that might sicken or kill people or animals. 

Companies that make, process or store food must notify the FDA within 24 hours of concluding that a food item might cause severe health problems, the FDA said today in an announcement. These facilities should already be registered with the FDA for licensing and food tracking purposes.

The registry is part of FDA’s effort to collect and respond more quickly to adverse events that could harm the consumer. The reporting requirement took effect today with the launch of the online registry, which was called for in 2007 legislation strengthening FDA’s oversight of the food industry.

The reporting requirement applies to all foods and animal feed regulated by the FDA, except infant formula and dietary supplements, which are covered by other regulatory requirements. Examples of reportable situations include bacterial contamination, such as peanut butter contaminated with salmonella; allergen mislabeling, such as ice cream that did not note peanut-derived ingredients; or elevated levels of certain chemical components in pet foods.

Companies that discover a potential for food-borne illness, should go to the FDA Web site and identify the location of the food in the supply chain; where the problem originated if it is known; and a description of the problem with the food item. Documents can be submitted electronically to support the information through the portal or via e-mail.

The agency issued draft guidance on the registry in June and has conducted three public workshops across the country to explain the requirements and how the portal works. FDA also published a notice in today’s Federal Register announcing the registry opening and final guidance for the food industry. The registry is online.

By Mary Mosquera

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