Last week, the International Association for Food Protection’s (IAFP) Annual Meeting was held in Louisville, KY. Among all of the sessions focusing on the Food Safety Modernization Act, preventive controls, microbiological contamination, foodborne outbreaks and the like, the U.S. Regulatory Update on Food Safety provided a much anticipated brief on what’s happening behind the scenes.

Frank Yiannas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response, spoke on modernizing the agency’s approach to food safety. 

“To succeed in these modern times, I believe we need more modern approaches,” says Yiannas.

In his talk, Yiannas mentioned that, after the foodborne outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce, FDA has prioritized produce safety, specifically leafy greens. 

“Ag water being treated in a significant way is something we’ve never seen before. There’s a lot of work underway. Work that’s never been done before.” 

Yiannas also remarked on FDA and embracing the concept of fostering a positive food safety culture.

“I’m convinced that food safety culture is a prerequisite for effective food safety management systems,” says Yiannas. “Food safety culture must start on the farm and end in the home. We must continue to educate consumers about safe food practices at home.”

Next was an update from Mindy Brashears, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. She provided a summary of last year’s foodborne illness outbreaks linked to meat and poultry products. 

Brashears also made a point to comment on the modernization of swine slaughter and process changes on the horizon, a hot topic that went viral back in April.  

Brashears said that all of USDA’s decisions regarding swine slaughter are “data-driven and science-based.” She also confirmed that, despite media reports, 100 percent carcass-by-carcass inspection will continue.

The 2020 IAFP Annual Meeting will be held August 2-5 in Cleveland, OH.

Sign up for Food Safety Magazine’s bi-weekly emails!

Subscribe to our podcast: Food Safety Matters!