The Reportable Food Registry has helped the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) target its food safety strategy and increase the speed with which it has been able to take action, according to a new FDA report reviewing activity during the online reporting tool’s second year.
The registry was created by legislation that passed through Congress in 2007, mandating that industry reports within 24 hours any food or feed that could cause serious adverse health consequences or death for humans or animals. The requirement took effect in 2009.
In a report released Thursday, the agency said that it had logged 225 primary reports of safety incidents in food and feed ingredients, and a subsequent 483 reports from recipients of those foods and ingredients from September 2010 to September 7, 2011.
“The report notes that the RFR findings have spurred efforts to improve preventive measures in affected commodity areas, both by industry and FDA, and are helping the agency better target its inspection and sampling activities,” the FDA said in a statement.
The top five categories reported in the second year were produce, spices and seasonings, bakery, animal food/feed, and seafood, with salmonella the most common problem affecting produce, spices and seasonings, and animal feed, listeria the most common problem for seafood, and undeclared allergens most commonly affecting baked goods.
While the number of primary reports was very similar to the previous year – 225 compared to 229 – the number of subsequent reports was much higher last year – 1872 compared to this year’s 483. This was largely due to a handful of recalls with far-reaching effects, including the recall of salmonella-tainted hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), which is used in a wide variety of foods.
Of the 225 primary RFR reports to September 2011, salmonellaaccounted for 38% of hazards, undeclared allergens 33%, and listeria 18%. The percentages from the first year were very similar, the report found, with salmonella accounting for 38%, undeclared allergens for 30% and listeria for 14%.