In the coming weeks, FDA will roll out the blueprint for the New Era of Smarter Food Safety, which lays out how it will use technology over the next decade to strengthen the ways it approaches food safety. FDA has been developing the blueprint over the past year with input from food safety experts within FDA and stakeholders who include consumers, the food industry, technology firms, federal and state regulatory partners, regulatory counterparts in other nations and academia. In addition, the agency is integrating the lessons learned during this pandemic to ensure that the food supply is supported during times of crisis.
“The challenges we’ve faced during the pandemic have made it clear that the goals we set forth in the New Era blueprint are more important now than ever,” says Frank Yiannas, FDA’s deputy commissioner for food policy and response. “Some of them, like enhanced traceability, are particularly meaningful in light of recent events."
Emerging digital technologies—such as blockchain, which connects blocks of information in a public database—make it easier to track and trace food products through the supply chain—from the time that they are grown or manufactured, until purchased by consumers.
Traceability is also useful in the event of a public health emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic, states FDA. Being able to trace foods makes the supply chain more transparent, the agency says, and may help the food industry to anticipate temporary supply imbalances that cause problems like these and to take proactive steps to meet consumer needs.
One of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety focus areas is helping to ensure that temperature control, cross contamination and other safety issues are considered. The importance of this goal has become increasingly apparent in the past few months as more consumers turn to electronic devices to order food from home.
Another core element of the New Era, according to Yiannas, is the establishment and support of food safety cultures on farms, in food facilities, and at home. This reflects one of the main lessons learned from COVID-19, he says. The government, industry and consumerscan and must work together to help keep each other safe, Yiannas adds.
For more details, see New Era of Smarter Food Safety.
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