Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the release of its 5th Annual Report for the Reportable Food Registry (RFR). This is a tool that provides early warning about potential public health risks from reportable foods, and helps the FDA--and its state- and local-level partners--and industry move quickly to remove contaminated foods from the marketplace. 

Information gathered in the RFR is used by the FDA--along with other data--to identify potential dangers that need to be addressed by public health initiatives. These initiatives usually revolve around planning and prioritization of inspections, developing guidance, generating sampling assignments, issuing import alerts, and other activities.

Undeclared allergens, typically a leading cause for RFR reports and recalls, triggered almost half of the RFR reports in Year 5. Most of these reports were associated with bakery products. Allergen mismanagement is largely avoidable by industry and often results from errors in labels and ingredient lists.

Even though the total number of RFR reports in Year 5 is lower than it has been over the last 2 years, amended report submissions from the industry are increasing. This is a sign that the industry is cooperating and are becoming familiar with the RFR reporting process. The FDA will continue to work closely with the food and feed industries to encourage more comprehensive reporting by providing informational presentations, webinars, and briefings.

The RFR report summarizes data from the Registry’s first five years of operation (September 8, 2009– September 7, 2014). Year 5 received 909 reportable food entries, including 201 primary reports—initial reports about a safety concern with a food or animal feed (including food ingredients); 464 subsequent reports from suppliers or recipients of a food or feed for which a primary report had been submitted; and 244 amended reports to correct or add information to previously submitted reports.

Under the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA has issued final rules that will help address many of the food safety problems reported to the RFR by establishing a comprehensive food safety program as mandated by Congress.

See the report in its entirety.

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