The FSMA final rules issued to date foreshadow what laboratories will need to know in anticipation of a rule on laboratory accreditation and model laboratory standards. Food Quality & Safety published this article by Robin Stombler on Preparing Your Laboratory for FDA’s Proposed Rule.
The distinguished health policy journal, Health Affairs, posted the article, A Food Safety Test We Have Yet To Pass, on its Health Affairs Blog. The article, authored by Robin Stombler, Director of the Food Laboratory Alliance, explains that results of food laboratory tests can mean the difference between sickness or health.
In recognition of World Health Day, the Food Laboratory Alliance will host its first Twitter chat on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 from 1 to 2 pm (eastern). The chat will discuss the role of testing in food safety and will examine the standards necessary for food laboratories to maintain.
Anyone may view or participate in the conversation by using the hashtag #foodlab on Twitter. The Food Laboratory Alliance moderator will pose a number of questions intended to encourage an interactive dialogue among audience participants. Join us!
“Food laboratories are pleased FDA added product testing and environmental monitoring as verification tools to the latest Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules,” notes article by Joan Murphy in Food Chemical News. The article captures comments from the Food Laboratory Alliance in further stating, “FDA should move ahead with the FSMA provision that requires the agency to establish an accreditation program for laboratories that test food.”
“Plenty is riding on the results of that laboratory test,” notes It Might Be E. Coli article in Food Safety Magazine. “If a laboratory reports that no E. coli is present in the food sample, then the product might proceed to market. If the results were incorrect, people may be sickened or die. In the reverse, if the laboratory wrongly reports the presence of a pathogen, the food product may be destroyed, causing economic losses to the food producer.”
“One very important component of FSMA still awaits FDA rulemaking, the oversight of the food laboratory…”, says Moving Toward Laboratory Standards published in the October/November 2014, edition of Food Quality & Safety magazine.
U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sam Farr (D-CA) called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to “fully implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).” In a joint letter, the representatives, both members of the subcommittee responsible for funding the Food and Drug Administration, also urge discontinuing the practice of requesting user fees to implement FSMA.
In the letter to HHS, the representatives acknowledge that the FDA “must have the resources to retrain the existing inspection workforce, hire new staff… and upgrade its information technology infrastructure” in order to realize a new risk-based oversight system. Yet, HHS budget requests for user fees as a mechanism for implementing FSMA should be ended. The letter states that this practice hides the “true cost of implementation and will likely be rejected.”
In the letter to OMB, Reps. DeLauro and Farr state, “A wide range of stakeholders, including Members of Congress who championed FSMA, want to see the implementing regulations finalized by the end of 2015… The food industry needs regulatory certainty, and consumers and public health leaders want effective new regulations to be in place as soon as possible in order to reduce the number of preventable foodborne illnesses.”
This article by Roger Brauninger in Quality Assurance & Food Safety outlines the role of third party accreditation in food safety. It discusses how accreditation is a tool to used to ensure laboratory competence. http://www.qualityassurancemag.com/qa1013-third-party-accreditation.aspx
Food Safety News features article, Food Labs Integral to Changing World of Food Safety, by Dan Flynn. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/10/food-labs-integral-to-changing-world-of-food-safety/