IWLA asks FDA to step up food supply safety
The International Warehouse Logistics Association has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue a rule that will allow warehouse operations to more effectively participate in assuring the safety of food products in their care.
The petition, filed July 22, 2011, also included the American Bakers Association, American Frozen Food Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, International Bottled Water Association, International Dairy Foods Association, Peanut & Tree Nut Processors Association and Snack Food Association.
These associations jointly told the FDA that full application of the Hazard Analysis and Preventive Controls Provisions included in the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act to storage facilities for packaged foods would be redundant. It would impose unnecessary costs with no public health benefit. They also noted that Congress explicitly instructed the FDA to implement this part of the law in a manner that acknowledges the difference in risk posed by various operations, including exempting a wide variety of operations from the rules.
These exemptions from the full requirements of this part of the law "demonstrate Congress' intent to rely on existing safety standards, where possible, and avoid duplicative layers of regulation," the associations said. The petition also pointed out that most of the potential hazards and preventive controls in that section of the law are not relevant to facilities solely engaged in the storage of packaged foods not exposed to the environment.
In addition, the associations said these packaged foods already come under a number of other FDA requirements during their manufacture, packaging and storage in warehouses that help ensure their safety.
"Most notably, we are not aware of any significant food-borne illness outbreaks attributable to storage at such facilities," they told the FDA.
Application of this section of the law to thousands of warehouses and storage facilities "would undoubtedly dilute the focus and effort of both FDA and the affected industries, consuming resources that could be directed to higher-risk sources and facilities," the associations said.
"Certainly, these resources would be put to better use in controlling the risks that arise before the product leaves the manufacturing facility."
The associations added, "Accordingly, imposing extensive hazard analysis and preventive controls requirements on facilities solely engaged in the storage of packaged foods not exposed to the environment would create significant costs and administrative burdens without a corresponding benefit to public health."
Edited by Kevin Scarpati
Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration.
The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing.
“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said.
In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”.
In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips.
Support domestic production of critical medicines
- A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”.
- The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.
Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries
- The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”.
- The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”.
Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals
- An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”.
- The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.
Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages
- The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing.
- Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”.