A new electronic system handling food safety reports from manufacturers, processors, packers, and distributors has worked well, with 125 primary reports and 1,638 subsequent reports submitted during its first seven months in operation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced July 28. Those seven months were September 2009 through March 2010.
Such companies are required to immediately report to the government safety problems with food and animal feed that are likely to result in serious health consequences, and the Reportable Food Registry is speeding the process. Salmonella accounted for 37 percent of the primary reports, undeclared allergens or intolerances for 35 percent, and Listeria for 13 percent.
"The FDA's new reporting system has already proven itself an invaluable tool to help prevent contaminated food from reaching the public," said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael R. Taylor. "Industry is increasingly detecting contamination incidents through its own testing, and FDA access to this information permits us to better target our inspection resources and verify that appropriate corrective measures have been taken. Ensuring that the American food supply is safe is a top priority of the FDA, and the Reportable Food Registry strengthens our ability to help prevent foodborne illness."
Congress directed FDA to create the registry. FDA said two notable reports that originated with the registry prompted a February 2010 recall of hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) and a recall of products that contained sulfites but were not so labeled. More than 1,000 industry reports specifically for products containing HVP caused 177 products to be removed from commerce, and the sulfites products were pulled without any report of illness.