Enhanced Traceability Could Increase Supply Chain Visibility
The agency originally intended traceability technologies, such as blockchain, to expedite traceback of a contaminated food to its source during foodborne outbreaks. FDA now suggests that enhanced traceability has the additional potential to "provide greater supply chain visibility and potentially help the FDA and industry anticipate the kind of marketplace imbalances that resulted in the temporary spot shortages of certain commodities" during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, FDA believes "a digitized food system is likely to be a stronger, more agile, and resilient food system."
Smarter Tools for Prevention, Protections for Foods Ordered Online
The forthcoming Blueprint will call for new and smarter tools to be used to conduct root cause analyses and anticipate likelihood of future contamination events. The Blueprint also calls for other new tools to be explored, such as virtual or remote inspections, which FDA says "would have been invaluable in the current public health emergency." Additionally, with more food being ordered online and delivered directly to consumers, the Blueprint will address the need for best practices to ensure that these foods are produced, packed, and transported safely directly to consumers.
Food Safety Culture on the Farms, in Food Facilities, and at Home
The Blueprint will also address the establishment and support of food safety cultures on farms, in food facilities, and at home. In addition to addressing food safety culture on farms and in facilities, the agency acknowledges the importance of "educating consumers on the best food safety practices when cooking at home." FDA explains that government, industry, and consumers "must all work together to keep each other safe."
We will continue to provide updates on the New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative. Please contact us if you have any questions on this or any other matter.
Authored by Maile Hermida, Elizabeth Fawell and Mary Lancaster
(1) Press Release, "Pandemic Challenges Highlight the Importance of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety" (June 2, 2020), https://bit.ly/3gPNyzp.