Remarks by FDA Deputy Commissioner at the IAFP
Read the speech FDA Deputy Commissioner here.
Frank Yiannas, in his announcement, reflects on what has happened so far in the global food system as well as what the future will look like. The world is experiencing difficult times as the global food system faces tremendous challenges. Moreover, these are difficult times, as the FDA rethinks how to best execute its objective: access to safe and readily available food.
Furthermore, according to Frank Yiannas, the global food system is enormous in scope and scale. Also, a variety of additional constraints, such as labor shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, the impacts of climate change, regional conflicts, and even inflationary headwinds are harming the global food system.
A New Era Has Begun
Nevertheless, obstacles give rise to opportunities. They shape a vision of what the future could be and lead to innovations in technology. The commissioner invites people to envision a future, with access to all the knowledge required on food and its production at the speed of thought. Furthermore, a future where the global food chain is so transparent and data-rich that can allow an easy trace of a food's path to its origin in seconds rather than days. Additionally, imagine the ability to pinpoint exactly how the food was created and handled at every stage of the process along with the effects of any interruptions related to that food and its safety and availability.
‘'I know it feels like we've come so far in food production and food safety, and we have. Yet both will be dramatically transformed in the years ahead.'' (Frank Yiannas, 2022)
Changing Food System
The speech highlights that food systems have evolved since the beginning of civilization and science and technology have always been powerful factors behind this transformation. Thus, right now, a food revolution is unfolding. Food is being reformulated, created in new forms, and delivered via innovative new technologies. Food is also getting increasingly digitized.
Regardless, the global food system is at a shifting point as the industry adopts new technology to meet consumer expectations for convenience, health, safety, transparency, sustainability, and affordability. Additionally, there is a tipping point in the efforts to guarantee that innovations and efficiencies do not come at the expense of public health. To establish this safer future food system, there is a need to think and work differently.
Food Safety Evolution
The commissioner gives a short history of food safety evolution. Concerns regarding food safety inspired Abraham Lincoln to establish the United States Department of Agriculture in 1862. The Division of Chemistry (part of the new USDA), would later become the FDA. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act of 1938 empowered the FDA to oversee the safety of food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and cosmetics. However, nowadays the 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is in place and switched the FDA's focus to foodborne illness prevention by developing science- and risk-based regulations for domestic and imported foods. Furthermore, the FSMA is improved through the New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint.
The commissioner highlights in the speech that according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent progress has been flat, with no significant decreases in the prevalence of several foodborne diseases in over two decades thus, actions are needed.
A Bridge to the Future
The New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint is a way to build a brighter future. The New Era emphasizes the need for future food systems to be safer, more digitalized, and traceable. It also emphasizes the importance of using innovative preventative techniques and tactics.
Data Sharing, Digitalization, and New Collaboration Methods
‘'better food safety begins and ends with better data'' (Frank Yiannas, 2022)
Big data and digital change are sweeping across many industries and disciplines, and food safety will be no exemption. Therefore, increased availability of high-quality data, together with emerging information technology and improved sensemaking tools, will aid in the conversion of data into better predictive, prescriptive, and preventive information. As a result, the ability to identify risks and utilize food safety resources will increase.
The commissioner states this is the time to invest in game-changing food safety measures like developing data and technology systems, genomics, innovative microbial therapies, automated monitoring, near real-time microbial detection tools, and more. Furthermore, it is time to put in place systems that will help prevent crises, so that such incidents never happen again. Lastly, this is the time when the FDA and other food safety system officials must work together – not just to anticipate a better future, but to co-create it.
iMIS Food – The future
Transparency & Integrity
iMIS Food offers a complete software platform for food safety. iMIS Food includes an iMIS Food Tracking management system that may be connected with other systems. Several quality standards and legislation demand traceability from the source material to the end product delivered to the customer. Throughout the production process, iMIS Food keeps track of which raw components, additives, and packaging end up in which final product. Furthermore, iMIS Food keeps track of which clients have which final products. This allows for one-click traceability from the source material to the customer. Transparency and integrity go hand in hand. It is essential to know what your company is producing, as well as how products are produced. Therefore, food companies, have the obligation to ensure all steps of the food supply chain are traceable. We live in a time where, consumers are getting more aware, and their needs must be fulfilled. Those needs do not only contain nutritional information, the ethical sustainable sourcing becomes therefore more and more important.
The world is changing with apps, and IoT (internet of things), nonetheless the food industry is still an old-fashioned industry. Many companies around the globe are still having their procedures, documents, food safety handbook, and more on physical paper. Next to the tracking solution, iMIS offers multiple digital solutions to aid the company to comply with the latest legislation and standards. iMIS digital solutions:
Co-creation, knowledge sharing, and transdisciplinary collaborations will move us forward in addressing the upcoming challenges in the Food industry. Transdisciplinary working should be encouraged more to address new challenges in the Global Food Supply Chain. To achieve food safety on a global scale, food systems must be radically reformed. To accelerate the development of sustainable solutions, agriculture and the food industry should be encouraged to innovate systems. Therefore, transdisciplinary multi-stakeholder partnerships enable co-creation and accelerate transformational change within food systems. With our shared knowledge and experience, we hope to create greater support.
- FDA, 2022, Remarks by FDA Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas at the International Association for Food Protection 2022 Annual Meeting. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/speeches-fda-officials/remarks-fda-deputy-commissioner-frank-yiannas-international-association-food-protection-2022-annual
- FDA, New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint.
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