Jul 2, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released a 6-month status report on its progress in implementing a food safety plan launched in November in response to high-profile contamination incidents involving domestic and imported foods over the past few years. The agency has conducted “incident command system” training courses and has developed a farm investigation course, which was held in February, for federal, state, and international investigators. FDA food protection plan 6-month summary See also: “Implementing the strategic approaches outlined in the plan is essential if we are to enhance our ability to respond and intervene in foodborne outbreaks,” said FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, MD, in a press release today. “But there is much more that needs to be done. We are hopeful that Congress will support these efforts by providing the proposed new authorities that we requested in the Food Protection Plan.” Also, the FDA is seeking feedback on a variety of food safety proposals, including outreach activities and pet-food labeling and safety standards. Other prevention areas the FDA plans to address include modifying food safety guidelines for leafy greens and melons, updating Good Agricultural Practices, issuing a final rule on Salmonella enteritidis contamination of shell eggs, and modernizing Good Manufacturing Practices for human food. In 2007, the FDA launched a Tomato Safety Initiative to explore problems associated with Salmonella contamination in tomatoes. The agency said it has completed its review of growing areas in Virginia and central Florida and is now analyzing the information so that it can report its findings. The agency plans to hire and train at least 161 new full-time food inspectors. Also, it is seeking feedback on a plan to allow third-party certification programs to ensure that imported food meets FDA requirements. Nov 6, 2007, CIDRAP News story “US food safety plan calls for mandatory recall power” The agency said it has made progress with China and Vietnam on food and import safety issues and has also reached out to India and Jordan. It has also met with a host of other countries on rapid response and other food safety issues. Among technical accomplishments, the FDA said it has developed an assay to gauge the stability of two bioterrorism agents in high-risk foods and has published a study on the microbiological load of bagged, ready-to-eat produce. Intervention initiativesThe FDA said it has beefed up inspections at a facility that produces low-acid canned foods (LACF), because of concerns about botulism. The measure resulted in a recall after inspectors found viable Clostridium botulinum spores. In view of the findings, the agency said it is considering targeting more LACF facilities.. Also, the FDA has asked states to apply for funding to establish rapid response teams. Six states will receive cooperative agreements for this purpose in 2008, and three more will receive them in the 2009 fiscal year. The 8-page report, available on the FDA’s Web site, covers a wide range of action items, from efforts to solicit stakeholder comments to research on how to assess produce contamination risks. Progress assessments are grouped under prevention, intervention, and response sections. In each category the FDA also lists steps it plans in the future. Jul 2 FDA press release Yesterday during the FDA’s update on the Salmonella outbreak investigation, David Acheson, MD, associate commissioner for foods, said many producers and distributors still use paper records, which have slowed the trace-back investigation. He told reporters that electronic records would enhance traceability. Some lawmakers have charged that the FDA has been too slow in implementing the food safety plan. For their part, FDA officials have said Congress has failed to grant the FDA authorities it has requested in the plan, such as the ability to require food recalls. Based on President Bush’s proposed 2009 budget, the FDA said it would conduct 327 more state contract food inspections than were completed this year and that its regulatory affairs office will conduct an additional 20,000 food import field exams. The status report comes as the FDA is fielding criticism over its handling of the investigation of a massive Salmonella outbreak thought to be linked to fresh tomatoes or some other ingredient commonly served in combination with tomatoes. When the FDA released its food protection plan in November, it emphasized that the strategy reflects a risk-based approach to improving safety. The new report says the FDA has established a risk-based steering committee to ensure that the plan adheres to that approach. Ramping up response capacityAcknowledging that better trace-back capabilities are needed to speed responses to foodborne illness outbreaks, the FDA said it has initiated discussions with industry and other stakeholders on current traceability models and how to identify beset practices for the process. “There have been changes in both the food industry and in the science of food safety that indicate a need for modernization,” the report says. Prevention plans move forwardThe FDA said it is working with state and local partners to develop a strategy for implementing the food safety plan and that a 50-state meeting will be held in St Louis from Aug 12 to 14 to collaborate and plan future food safety initiatives. On the technical front, the FDA said it has developed a rapid detection system, using flow cytometry, to identify Escherichia coli and Salmonella in food and that the system is already being used in poultry processing facilities. FDA microbiologists trained at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Salmonella reference laboratory on a new molecular method, purchased for many of the FDA’s labs, for rapidly identifying Salmonella strains. Jul 1 CIDRAP News story “FDA requests backup in hunt for Salmonella source”
HealthInternationalLifestylePrint Trade matters likely to dominate CARICOM summit by: Caribbean Media Corporation – June 29, 2017 44 Views no discussions Share Tweet Share Share Sharing is caring! ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) — Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders will discuss future trade relations with the United Kingdom as it prepares to leave the European Union when they meet here next week for their annual summit.Acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Nicholas Steele, briefing reporters on the July 4-7 summit here, said that trade relations between the 15-mrember grouping and the United Kingdom after Brexit would most likely dominate the talks here.“How we interact with a United Kingdom that is not part of the European Union is very important and as CARICOM there is need for a united approach,” he said.British Prime Minister Theresa May has started the process of pulling Britain out of the EU single market even as critics said the talks should be suspended because it could not be delivered by a Government “lacking in strength and stability, unclear on its objectives, unlikely to survive”.Last July, the regional leaders began their summit in Guyana in the shadows of the vote taken by Britons to exit the 43-year-old European Union.While the leaders made reference to the vote and urged Caribbean people not to harbour any such thought as it relates to the regional integration movement, the St Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, while he welcomed the opportunities that Brexit — as it is popularly known — may have for the region, also noted that it has “put the survival of our integration into focus”.Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that the summit provided the leaders with “a wonderful opportunity to seriously consider the effect that Britain’s exit from the European Union will have on CARICOM to demonstrate real leadership by showing the way forward.Steele told reporters that there are “many treaties with the EU that will have to be re-negotiated for CARICOM member states because it will not be the same common approach as exist presently.“These treaties were EU treaties but now it we will have negotiate UK treaties,” said Steele, noting that the discussions will be led by the CARICOM Office on Trade.The summit is expected to be attended by at least 13 CARICOM leaders and Alva Browne, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that there will be a high representation from China, the World Bank and special surprise guest whose identity has to be concealed due to security reasons.The Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said that the leaders are also expected to deliberate on outstanding matters related to the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) following the comprehensive review of the CSME’s performance presented to then at the last Inter-Sessional Meeting in February.There is also expected to be an update on the preparations for CARIFESTA XIII to be staged in Barbados from 17th to 27th August under the theme “Asserting our Culture, celebrating ourselves.”The work on the Commissions on Reparations and Marijuana is also expected to come under the spotlight. So too, the progress made with implementing the specified actions, agreed a decade ago, under the 2007 Port of Spain declaration to stop the epidemic of Non-Communicable Diseases (NDCs). Regional security issues are also expected to receive attention.Besides these issues, the regional leaders are expected to discuss the political situation in Venezuela where opposition protestors have been taking to the streets demanding the removal of President Nicolas Maduro.The issue has split the 15-member grouping with St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves urging his colleagues not to fall prey to the machinations of countries that want to see the downfall of Maduro.Steele said that while the plenary sessions will be held at the Radisson Convention Centre on the outskirts of the capital, the regional leaders will meet on the privately owned Calivigny island which is only accessible by boat for their caucus.The meeting here will be chaired by Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, who is taking over the chairmanship of the regional integration movement from Guyana’s Head of State, David Granger.The Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said that the opening ceremony on July 4 will take place at the Grenada Trade Centre.The summit will be attended by the region’s two newest leaders, President Jovenel Moise of Haiti and Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.A highlight of the opening ceremony would be the presentation of the Triennial Award for Women to the latest recipient.The ceremony will be addressed by the two Moise, Minnis as well as President Granger, Prime Minister Mitchell and CARICOM Secretary General, Irwin la Rocque.
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