The Future of Food Safety.

Update from SHIFT20

Where is the culture and technology of food safety headed? The FDA released their New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint on July 13th. At the virtual SHIFT20 show hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas outlined the vision behind it.

While the FDA had been working on this plan before the impact of COVID-19, the global pandemic highlighted the importance of a strong and resilient food system. The blueprint outlines the future of food safety, and the work to be done over the next 10 years for a more digital, safer food system.

A new era of food safety

Times are changing for food. Different consumer patterns are emerging, new and reformulated products are popping up, and production methods are changing. Everything is becoming more digital. As Yiannas explained, the industry needs modern approaches to food safety that are multi-dimensional.

The New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint has four core elements:

1. Tech-enabled Traceability

This is key for identifying and controlling outbreaks and contamination. Right now, paperwork-based traceability is still prevalent. The goal with tools like blockchain and user friendly apps is to be able to go back to the source of food in seconds instead of days.

2. Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention and Outbreak Response

With new data streams and tools for analyzing it, there are more possibilities for preventive approaches. Identifying root causes and high risks can help stop problems before they start.

3. New Business Models and Retail Modernization

As more and more people get their food from online stores or grocery delivery, the FDA is looking for ways to ensure food safety in these new markets. They’re also taking a look at more traditional business models, like retail establishments, and how methods can be improved there.

4. Food Safety Culture

As the blueprint states, “A strong food safety culture is a prerequisite to effective food safety management.” The food industry can’t be complacent about the future of food safety, but must always be looking to strengthen and improve it.

Read the whole blueprint here.

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