F.D.A. touts Reportable Food Registry successes

by Erica Shaffer
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The Food and Drug Administration is calling the agency's Reportable Food Registry a success, claiming it has helped prevent contaminated food products from reaching consumers. In the first seven months of the Registry's operation, the F.D.A. logged 125 primary food safety reports — initial reports about a food safety problem with food or animal feed. The agency logged 1,638 subsequent reports from suppliers or recipients of a food or feed item for which a primary report had been submitted from both domestic and foreign sources. According to the F.D.A., the reports helped the agency and industry prevent contaminated food items from reaching the public.

“We see this first seven months as really being quite a success story as far as getting this new tool up and running and functioning, we think, fairly smoothly and getting a flow of reports which are, of course, required by law,” said Michael R. Taylor, F.D.A. Deputy Commissioner for Foods.

Two prominent incidents identified through the Registry included the February recall of more than 100 products containing hydrolyzed vegetable protein (H.V.P.), and a November 2009 recall of two nationally distributed prepared side dishes containing undeclared sulfites. Both recalls occurred without any reports of illness, according to the F.D.A.

Among the primary reports, Salmonella contamination accounted for 37%, undeclared allergens made up 35% of the reports, and Listeria monocytogenes contamination accounted for 12%, according to the F.D.A.
Among the 11 different commodity categories involved in the primary reports, 14 were animal feed or pet food, 12 seafood, 11 spices and seasonings, and 10 were dairy products. Red meat and poultry were not included in the commodity totals, because they are inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

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