EdNet, the National Food Safety Educator’s Network, is a monthly, multi-agency electronic news journal from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). EdNet provides up-to-date information about food safety and nutrition programs and activities for educators, consumer advocates, government officials, and industry representatives.
If you have questions or comments about this issue of EdNet, send e-mail to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA).
In this issue:
Advisories, Alerts, and Warnings
- Stimulant Potentially Dangerous to Health, FDA Warns
- Recalls of Foods & Dietary Supplements (FDA)
- Consumer Alert: Tips to Keep Food Safe in a Weather Emergency (FSIS)
Resources for Educators
- FDA Consumer Update: Fighting the Impact of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
- FDA Wants Your Opinion on Dairy-Product Labels
- Blog by: Carl Sciacchitano, Senior Advisor for Scientific International Affairs in FDA’s Office of International Programs, FDA, Regarding: FDA Collaborates with Mexico to Improve Food-Safety Testing
- FDA Wants You (to Get Involved)
- FDA Releases Video Testimonials to Enhance Retail Food Safety
- USDA Calls on Communities to Help Fill the Summer Meal Gap; Ensure Children Have Access to Healthy Food Year Round
- FDA Budget Requests $4.7 Billion to Ensure Safety of Food Supply and to Modernize Medical Product Safety
- USDA and Federal Partners Renew Commitment to Improve Access to Safe Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation in Indian Country
- FDA: Foods Derived from Genetically Engineered Plants, Updated
- Incidence and Trends of Infection with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food — 10 U.S. Sites, 1996–2012 – MMWR (CDC)
- When Traveling, Bring Back Fun Memories-Not Invasive Pests! (USDA)
- Spring for Food Safety – USDA Blog
- Amber Waves Magazine – April 2013
Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops
- FDA, FSIS to Hold Public Meeting on Risk Assessment of Listeria monocytogenes in Retail Delis
- A Tri-Agency Webinar: Foodborne Illness and Vulnerable Populations
- FDA Extends Public Comment Period 120 Days for Proposed Rules on Preventive Controls for Human Food, Produce Safety, and Draft Qualitative Risk Assessment
- Analysis of Results for FDA Food Defense Vulnerability Assessments and Identification of Activity Types
- Guidance for FDA Staff: Compliance Policy Guide Sec. 100.250 Food Facility Registration – Human and Animal Food
- FDA Issues Proposed Rule to Add Selenium to List of Required Nutrients for Infant Formula
- FDA: U.S. Marshals Seize Food at New York-Based Food Facility
- USDA, FDA Establish Export Certification Program for U.S. Egg-Containing Food Products
- FDA Progress Report on Implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act: January - March 2013
- FSIS Policy Updates
Advisories, Alerts, and Warnings
The FDA is using all available tools at its disposal to ensure that dietary supplements containing a stimulant called dimethylamylamine (DMAA) are no longer distributed and available for sale to consumers in the marketplace. The ingredient, DMAA, is most commonly used in supplements promising weight loss, muscle building and performance enhancement; it can elevate blood pressure and could lead to cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, shortness of breath and tightening of the chest. Given the known biological activity of DMAA, the ingredient may be particularly dangerous when used with caffeine.
For more information about DMAA, go to:
Food producers recall their products from the marketplace when the products are mislabeled or when the food may present a health hazard to consumers because the food is contaminated or has caused a foodborne illness outbreak.
The recently posted food recalls can be found at:
On April 12, 2013, FSIS issued a consumer alert with recommendations for residents in Alabama and Mississippi affected by devastating tornado and thunderstorms to minimize the potential for foodborne illness due to power outages.
Read this alert:
Resources for Educators
The resistance of bacteria to antibiotics and similar drugs—called antimicrobials—is considered a major public health threat by the FDA and its counterparts around the world. Antibiotics have transformed health care since they were introduced in the 1940s and have been widely used to fight bacterial infections. These and similar drugs kill or inhibit the growth of disease-causing microorganisms.
Read the entire consumer update by the FDA:
The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has issued a related consumer update: FDA Cautions in Interpretation of Antimicrobial Resistance Data. Read the entire CVM update:
If you’re a lover of chocolate milk, but want to watch your weight, you might reach for the carton labeled reduced calorie. But dairy manufacturers would rather that the carton simply say chocolate milk. Why? According to a petition submitted to FDA, one reason is that industry groups believe labels such as reduced calorie or no added sugar are a turn-off to kids who might otherwise reach for flavored milk with non-nutritive (artificial) sweeteners at the school cafeteria or from the grocery store cooler. The petition from the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) was published for public comment in the Federal Register and has generated much interest—and confusion. It remains open for comment until May 21, 2013.
For more detailed information on dairy-product labels, visit:
Blog by: Carl Sciacchitano, Senior Advisor for Scientific International Affairs in FDA’s Office of International Programs, FDA, Regarding: FDA Collaborates with Mexico to Improve Food-Safety Testing
FDA and public health officials in Mexico are working together to increase the capacity and capabilities of laboratories used to test the safety of foods. In January, 2012, FDA scientists met with Mexico’s National Service of Health, Food Safety and Agro-Alimentary Quality (SENASICA) officials to better understand laboratory operations, practices, methods and quality assurance. Our scientists were also able to visit the SENASICA laboratories and discuss opportunities that would enhance laboratory collaboration and capacity building efforts.
Read the entire blog on FDA Voice at:
On April 4, 2013, the FDA issued a consumer update to announce the agency’s Patient Network Initiative is bringing the unique perspective of patients, family members, caregivers and patient advocates to the decision-making processes of the FDA. Learn the many ways you can get involved and become part of the process that regulates food and drugs. Resources also include the new Patient Network website, which has a wealth of information including how to find clinical trials, learn about diseases and explore treatment options.
Read this Consumer Update to learn more about FDA's efforts to give patients and patient advocates a voice at:
In an effort to enhance retail food safety, the FDA has released three video testimonials. Less than 10 minutes each, the videos educate retail and foodservice employees on the possible, dire consequences of poor preparation practices and provide tips to prevent foodborne illness. Two of the videos feature the testimonials of family members who lost their mother and wife after she ate Salmonella-contaminated food from a restaurant. A third video tells the story of a woman who contracted listeriosis while pregnant and nearly lost her newborn daughter to the disease.
Read more of this Constituent Update at:
USDA Calls on Communities to Help Fill the Summer Meal Gap; Ensure Children Have Access to Healthy Food Year Round
On April 12, 2013, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called on communities across the country to partner with USDA's summer meals program to ensure that no child goes hungry when school is out.
Read this entire news release:
FDA Budget Requests $4.7 Billion to Ensure Safety of Food Supply and to Modernize Medical Product Safety
The FDA is requesting a budget of $4.7 billion to protect and promote the public health as part of the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget. Industry user fees would fund 94 percent of the proposed budget increase, including new fees to support the landmark Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and strengthen the FDA’s ability to oversee imported food. The remainder of the budget increases would support programs which are necessary to preserve the safety of medical products and meet the agency’s growing duties. Recognizing the need for fiscal constraint, the budget includes spending cuts in several areas, including a $15 million decrease in budget authority for human drug, biologics, and medical device programs. The FY 2014 request covers the period from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014.
To read the Highlights of the FDA FY 2014 budget, visit:
USDA and Federal Partners Renew Commitment to Improve Access to Safe Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation in Indian Country
On April 9, 2013, Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager announced that USDA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Department of Interior (DOI), to continue to work together to reduce by 50 percent the number of tribal homes lacking access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2015.
Read the entire news release:
FDA has recently received inquiries about the labeling of foods with ingredients derived from genetically engineered plants. It recognizes and appreciates the strong interest that many consumers may have in knowing whether a food was produced using genetic engineering. FDA supports voluntary labeling for food derived from genetic engineering. Currently, food manufacturers may indicate through voluntary labeling whether foods have or have not been developed through genetic engineering provided that such labeling is truthful and not misleading.
To read more about food derived from genetically engineered plants, go to:
Incidence and Trends of Infection with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food — 10 U.S. Sites, 1996–2012 - MMWR
Foodborne diseases are an important public health problem in the United States. The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) conducts surveillance in 10 U.S. sites for all laboratory-confirmed infections caused by selected pathogens transmitted commonly through food to quantify them and monitor their incidence. This report summarizes 2012 preliminary surveillance data and describes trends since 1996.
Read this entire report:
When Traveling, Bring Back Fun Memories-Not Invasive Pests!
Travel is a popular activity for a lot of people. When traveling outside the United States, what you bring back really does matter. We want to protect our country from invasive plant pests and diseases to help keep our agriculture and forests safe.
Read the rest of this USDA blog:
The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline has some food safety tips and steps here that, if added to your favorite recipes, can reduce the risk of food poisoning. As with any food preparation, always remember to Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.
Read this USDA blog:
The April issue of the Amber Waves Magazine from USDA's Economic Research Service is available online.
View the latest issue:
The FDA and FSIS will hold a public meeting to discuss a recently completed draft risk assessment on Listeria monocytogenes in foods sold at retail delicatessens. The meeting will be held at USDA’s Jefferson Auditorium at 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC, on May 22, 2013, from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. FDA and FSIS jointly conducted the draft risk assessment to better understand the risk of foodborne illness associated with ready-to-eat foods prepared in retail delis and how industry practices may reduce or increase the risk.
More information about time, registration, and speakers, visit:
A Tri-Agency Webinar: Foodborne Illness and Vulnerable Populations
A tri-agency webinar entitled, Foodborne Illness and Vulnerable Populations, is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. The USDA’s FSIS and ERS (Economic Research Service); the FDA; and the CDC will conduct a 1-hour event to raise awareness about the chronic health and economic consequences of foodborne illness on at-risk groups. Specialists from each agency have knowledge of foodborne illnesses and their relationship to at-risk groups, such as older adults, pregnant women, organ transplant recipients, people with diabetes, cancer, and/or HIV/AIDS.
More information about time, registration, and the panel of speakers will appear in the next issue of Ed Net.
FDA Extends Public Comment Period 120 Days for Proposed Rules on Preventive Controls for Human Food, Produce Safety, and Draft Qualitative Risk Assessment
On April 24, 2013, FDA issued Federal Register notices to extend the comment periods on the proposed rules for Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food (the Preventive Controls proposed rule) and Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption (the Produce Safety proposed rule) until September 16, 2013.
Read more of this Constituent Updates at:
Analysis of Results for FDA Food Defense Vulnerability Assessments and Identification of Activity Types
Section 106 of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), requires FDA, among other things, to conduct a vulnerability assessment (VA) of the food system, A VA is the process of identifying, quantifying, and prioritizing (or ranking) the vulnerabilities in a system. Over the past several years, FDA has conducted vulnerability assessments (VA) on more than 50 products or processes, leading to the identification of processing steps of highest concern, and potential mitigation strategies to reduce vulnerabilities. The current study utilized the results from 25 VAs to determine if a potential threshold score for the implementation of mitigation strategies could be identified.
To read this report, go to:
Guidance for FDA Staff: Compliance Policy Guide Sec. 100.250 Food Facility Registration – Human and Animal Food
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for FDA staff on food facility registration under section 415 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 350d), including the requirement that certain food facilities register with FDA, the requirement that registered facilities biennially renew their registrations with FDA, and FDA’s authority to suspend a food facility’s registration. FDA’s guidance documents, including this guidance, do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities. Instead, guidances describe the Agency’s current thinking on a topic and should be viewed only as recommendations, unless specific regulatory or statutory requirements are cited. The use of the word should in Agency guidances means that something is suggested or recommended, but not required.
To read this draft guidance document in its entirety, visit:
On April 15, 2013, the FDA announced a proposed rule to add selenium to the list of required nutrients for infant formulas, and to establish both minimum and maximum levels of selenium in infant formulas. The proposed rule is titled Infant Formula: The Addition of Minimum and Maximum Levels of Selenium to Infant Formula and Related Labeling Requirements. Specifically, FDA proposes 2.0 μg (micrograms) selenium/100 kcal as the minimum level and 7.0 μg/100 kcal as the maximum level of selenium in infant formulas. The proposed rule will also amend the labeling requirements for infant formula to require the listing of selenium per 100 kilocalories.
Read more of this Constituent Update at:
FDA invites public comment on this proposal starting April 16, 2013 for 75 days. To submit your comments electronically to the docket go to:
U.S. Marshals have seized food products at a Ridgewood, NY warehouse that manufactures and distributes kosher food products, after investigators from the FDA found widespread rodent infestation in the facility. The FDA initiated the seizure of various food products in the manufacturing facility and warehouse operated by V.I.P. Foods Inc., on April 12, 2013, under a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. To date, no illnesses have been associated with V.I.P. Foods products.
To read this Press Release in its entirety, go to:
The FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) is alerting the food industry to a new program operated by the USDA to certify exports of a wide range of U.S. products containing eggs. Many foreign countries and firms require such certifications as a condition of purchase of imported food to ensure its safety and wholesomeness.
Read more of this Constituent Update at:
The FDA intends to provide regular updates to inform the public and Congress on its progress in implementing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This summary does not reference all actions taken by FDA.
January - March 2013 Progress Report is now available at:
FSIS issues Notices and Directives to protect public health. The following policy updates were recently issued:
- FSIS Notice 29-13: Targeted Verification of Product Formulation and Labeling for the Eight Most Common (‘BIG 8’) Food Allergens
- Docket No. FSIS-2013-0013: Retail Exemptions Adjusted Dollar Limitations
- Docket No. FSIS-2013-0018: Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission
- Docket No. FSIS-2012-0046: Notice of Request for a New Information Collection (Accredited Laboratory Contact Update Form) – [comments Due by June 24, 2013]
- FSIS Directive 10400.1: Sample Collection from Cattle Under the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Ongoing Surveillance Program
- Docket No. FSIS-2013: Notice of Request for Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection (Registration Requirements)- [Comments on this notice must be received on or before June 10, 2013]
- FSIS Notice 26-13: Manufacture of Animal Food or Uninspected Articles at Official Establishments
- FSIS Notice 25-13: Increased Species Sampling Plan for Imported Products
- Docket No. FSIS-2013-0004: Notice of Request for a New Information Collection: Egg Products Industry Survey – [Comments on this notice must be received on or before May 28, 2013]
- Docket No. FSIS-2012-0037: Electronic Filing of Import Inspection Applications for Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products: Availability of Draft Compliance Guide and PGA Message Set Pilot Program- [Submit electronic or written requests to participate in the pilot program on or before May 28, 2013. Comments on the draft compliance guide should be submitted on or before June 27, 2013]
- FSIS Directive 10240.5: Verification Procedures for Enforcement, Investigations and Analysis Officers (EIAOs) for the ‘Listeria monocytogenes’ (‘Lm’) Regulation and Routine Risk-Based Listeria monocytogenes (RLm) Sampling Program - Revision 3
- FSIS Directive 10300.1: Intensified Verification Testing (IVT) Protocol for Sampling of Product, Food Contact Surfaces, and Environmental Surfaces for ‘Listeria Monocytogenes’ (Lm) or ‘Salmonella’ SPP. - Revision 1
- All Notices and Directives are available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/index.asp