For our April 2022 cover story, Joyce Fassl detailed what would be involved in the traceability rule that has since been released. Perishable items and nut butters will be among foods requiring increased traceability records. Automation, increased due diligence, and additional staffing are in the offing for affected food processors.
While food manufacturing plants are already maintaining strict traceability records, traceability regulations for perishable foods and nut butters are expected to be announced later this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The proposed rule is covered under the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) signed into law in 2011. “The underlying reason why Congress passed a law is there’s basically a slow response time to investigating certain outbreaks and foodborne illness events,” says Eric Edmunds, food safety director with The Acheson Group (TAG). “The idea was that by creating more records, especially for high-risk foods, it would facilitate quicker investigations and prevent illness overall. If the FDA’s able to find the problem quicker, they’re able to put out public notices faster, effectuate recalls, and prevent more people from getting sick.”
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FDA Proposed Rule for Traceability—Are You Prepared?