Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How Food Recalls Work - A Look at Distribution Technology

The recent recall of nearly half a billion eggs reignited the debate over mandatory tracking for food distribution reaching back to the farm. Stephen Jannise of Distribution Software Advice has written an interesting about the egg recall. He created a hypothetical, behind-the-scenes illustration of how a food recall works. You can read it here.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Legislation for Labeling Biotech Food

U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) has introduced "The Consumer Right to Know Food Labeling Act of 2010," which would require labeling for food that contains genetically engineered (GE) or cloned animal products. The bill would amend the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and Meat Inspection Act. The bill also directs USDA and FDA to develop and implement a recordkeeping audit trail applicable to “any person that prepares, stores, handles, or distributes a cloned product for retail sale.” A copy of the bill is here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

IOM Front-of-Package Label Committee report

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its Front-of-Package (FOP) labeling report. This Phase I report provide a detailed examination of about 19 of the existing FOP schemes and some recommendations about what such schemes ought to do. As the IOM press release explains:
A multitude of nutrition rating, or guidance, systems have been developed by food manufacturers, government agencies, nutrition groups, and others in recent years with the intent of helping consumers quickly compare products’ nutritional attributes and make healthier choices. Ratings are typically communicated to shoppers through symbols placed prominently on food packaging, usually on the front, or on retail shelf tags. Unlike the Nutrition Facts panel, these rating systems and symbols are unregulated, and different systems focus on different nutrients. The variation may confuse consumers, and questions have been raised about the systems’ underlying nutritional criteria.
Marion Nestle provides a good summary of the report here