Reportable Food Registry works to prevent illness, says FDA

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food safety Foodborne illness

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that its Reportable Food Registry (RFR) is working to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks, in its first annual report on its efficacy.

The report summarizes use of the online food safety reporting tool during its first year, from September 2009 to September 2010. There were 2,240 entries logged during the period, including 229 primary reports, with 1,872 follow-up reports and 132 amended reports, the FDA said.

FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Michael Taylor said: “This report is a measure of our success in receiving early warning on problems with food and feed. The data in this report represents an important tool for targeting our inspection resources, bringing high risk commodities into focus, and driving positive change in industry practices – all of which will better protect the public health.”

According to the report, 37.6 percent of reported hazards were due to salmonella, 34.9 percent were due to undeclared allergens or intolerances, and Listeria monocytogenes accounted for 14.4 percent.

The agency said the Reportable Food Registry had drawn its attention to two areas of hazard in particular, spurring additional industry and government action: Salmonella in spices and seasonings, raw agricultural products, animal feed, pet food, and nuts and seeds; and allergens and intolerances in baked goods, dried fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, dairy, and candy.

The FDA said pinpointing these specific hazards would help it to better target its inspection and sampling activities.

Taylor said: “Several key US industries are already re-evaluating their hazard and preventive controls, core principles of the Food Safety Modernization Act recently passed by Congress. We also anticipate improved reporting as we continue our vigorous outreach to food facilities through federal, state, local and foreign agencies, to help us expand the positive effect of the RFR on the safety of the US food supply.”

The full report is available online here​.

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