Blueprint of the New Era

Food

Blueprint of the New Era

NAVENIA
WELLINGTON
Food Safety and Management
System Practitioner

Thursday, November 05, 2020

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North America is one of the major export markets for the Jamaican agriculture and agro-processing industries. There is a guiding rule that any food business operator must know when looking to export, which is they must meet the rules/laws/regulations of the importing country. Since 2010, manufacturers have been keeping abreast with the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) to ensure they have met the requirements as outlined by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FSMA and its attendant rules are the FDA tool used to ensure the safety of the American consumer. In July 2020, the FDA announced another level/instalment that must be considered by Jamaican food exporters — the “Blueprint” to the New Era of Smarter Food Safety.

Digital, traceable and a safer food system are some of the words the FDA used to describe its new approach. The New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint was announced on July 13, 2020 by Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas. He stated this should have been shared in March, but had to be postponed due to focus being put on the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the experience of the FDA during the pandemic has strengthened its belief in the New Era of Smarter Food Safety. The steps outlined in the blueprint are considered essential and “they are more important now than ever”. Like other regulators and conformity assessment bodies, the FDA would have faced the same health restrictions as the general public. This means that inspections of food facilities, as required under programmes such as the Foreign Supplier Verification Programme, had to be adjusted and measures put in place.

In essence, the FDA is looking to leverage new technologies and methodologies to create a “more digital, transparent and safer food system”. However, it has hastened to add that though there is emphasis on technology, it is not just about technology but how it will be used to strengthen the approach to food safety. There are four core areas of the blueprint; these are also referred to as the foundational pillars:

1. Tech-enabled traceability

2. Smarter tools and approaches for prevention and outbreak response

3. New business models and retail modernisation

4. Food safety culture

The Blueprint of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety is being proposed because despite advances made in food safety over the last 10 years, the rate of foodborne illnesses has seen an insignificant amount of change. The FDA has concluded its position by stating:

“In putting forth the concepts in this blueprint, we're not talking about things that can't be done. We're talking about doing our work differently. Working together and thinking outside the box, we'll create a more digital, traceable and safer food system that advances food safety, improves the quality of life for consumers in this country and all over the world, and better prepares us for unexpected events that could impact the food supply.”

Jamaican manufacturers will definitely be impacted by this blueprint. It is therefore important to know more, so as to ensure compliance. More information on the Blueprint for the New Era of Smarter Food Safety can be found at https://www.fda.gov/food/new-era-smarter-food-safety/new-era-smarter-food-safety-blueprint.

Are Jamaican food exporters ready for the New Era of Smarter Food Safety?


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