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FDA, USDA Work to Improve Food System

The Food and Drug Administration recently outlined a plan to improve safety in the U.S. and the United States Department of Agriculture revealed an investment in sustainable food practices.

To increase transparency and assist food industry stakeholders by highlighting its regulatory agenda, the FDA Foods Program has posted a new website listing regulations it plans to publish by October 2024 and longer-term regulations it is prioritizing for later publication.

Some of the pertinent topics include documentation around imported foods certifications, a definition of the term “healthy” when referring to nutrition content, and the use of ultrafiltered milk in cheese production.

In addition to regulations, the agency has also added to the list of guidance documents it expects to publish by the end of December 2024.

Guidance documents represent the FDA’s current thinking on a specific topic, and the information can help stakeholders plan for changes that may impact their businesses; they do not, however, impose legally enforceable requirements. They are as follows:

• Notifying FDA of a Permanent Discontinuance in the Manufacture or an Interruption of the Manufacture of an Infant Formula; Draft Guidance for Industry

• Action Levels for Lead in Food Intended for Babies and Young Children: Guidance for Industry

• The Food Traceability Rule: Questions and Answers; Draft Guidance for Industry

• Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food; Chapter 12: Preventive Controls for Chemical Hazards: Draft Guidance for Industry

• Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals: Target Mean and Upper Bound Concentrations for Sodium in Commercially Processed, Packaged, and Prepared Foods (Edition 2): Draft Guidance for Industry

The FDA also recently emphasized the importance of technology-enabled food traceability. It published the first video in an educational series on how food companies can leverage technology to enhance food safety measures and prevent foodborne illness. In the video, food technology companies participated in a roundtable discussion about opportunities for makers to adopt ingredient-tracing operations.

To reduce food waste, the USDA invested roughly $11.5 million last week into 38 composting and food waste reduction programs across the country.

“These composting and food waste reduction projects help communities reduce food waste and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Terry Cosby, chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, which houses the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production, in a statement. “Local strategies and tools like these are important climate solutions and also contribute to food security at the community level.”

USDA prioritized projects that indicated economic benefits, incorporated plans to make compost easily accessible to farmers, integrated other popular food waste strategies, and collaborated with multiple partners.

Related: Target Adds More Than 1,000 Wellness Items; Fresh Thyme Market Joins Naturally Chicago Locally Made Retail Access Program