Comments on FDA’s “Smarter Era of Food Safety” Meeting
By iFoodDS team
October 21, 2019
On October 21, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public meeting to discuss “A Smarter Era of Food Safety.” Showing the high level of interest among food companies, both the in-person meeting and webinar drew capacity crowds. The FDA meeting focused on creating a safer, more technology-centric and traceable food system, but doing it faster and more effectively.
Diane Wetherington, CEO of iFoodDecisionSciences (iFoodDS), provided public comments during this landmark meeting. Her comments focused on the importance of data and how that data can make identifying food safety trends and advancing continuous improvement an easier task with better results.
“For real time solutions, data is critical. Throughout the supply chain, we are collecting data, mostly on paper, but we are documenting what is being done throughout the day in our food safety operations. That data has great value. At the industry level, we need to be positioned to have data for companies to investigate their own food safety risks and collectively to understand how those risks apply to similar operations, product varieties and impact best practices,” Wetherington said.
Traceability was also a key focus at the FDA meeting, but Wetherington said traceability systems can also offer the opportunity to learn more about food safety throughout the supply chain. “Traceability has a critical role particularly in the event of an outbreak, but we should not stop at traceability. We need to know not only where a product came from in the supply chain but also what happened to the product at each and every step along the way.”
The FDA meeting included breakout sessions for participants which included:
- Tech-enabled traceability and outbreak response
- Smarter tools and approaches for prevention
- Adapting to new business models and retail modernization
- Food safety culture
As the leading provider of food safety risk management software solutions for the produce supply chain, iFoodDS welcomed this opportunity to participate in this important technology-based meeting.
“We appreciate the efforts by FDA to advance technology-driven food safety solutions,” Wetherington said after the meeting concluded. “It is going to take government and industry cooperation – from the smallest grower to the largest retailer – to invest in improving food safety. Our job at iFoodDS is to continue to improve technology, integrated software systems and data collection and make this as user-friendly as possible to continue moving food safety improvements forward,” Diane Wetherington says.