World Food Safety Day Puts Innovation in the Spotlight

Thanks to the internet, we now know which days throughout the year are earmarked for celebrating our favorite foods and snacks – national donut day just passed on June 2, national hamburger day is on May 28 and we get to celebrate rose all day on June 10. Today’s honoree – World Food Safety Day – weaves an important thread through every ‘holiday’: the innovation and advancements in place to keep our food safe and ensure America continues to have the safest food supply on the planet.

A little background: the inaugural World Food Safety Day was celebrated in 2019, its goal to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks that contribute to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development. It’s also an opportunity to commend the industry’s efforts to produce safe food for consumers every day, which is the top priority for all of Consumer Brands’ member companies. And, from an advocacy perspective – which is another reason this day stands out – it gives us the chance to highlight the importance of modernizing the FDA to better deliver on its mission as a public health regulatory agency tasked with ensuring consumer access to a wide variety of safe products. 

Last year, I testified before Congress on the need for reform at the FDA so it can function at the speed of the consumer, which has to be much more far reaching than their current efforts to update IT and business processes for inspections and compliance.

Consumer Brands was one of the first organizations to call for a Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods to finally unite policy makers and the inspection and enforcement personnel within the agency to deliver on a comprehensive food safety agenda. The Commissioner has pledged that the position will have full management and operational authority over all aspects of the food program and its resources, and we plan to hold him accountable. Beyond enabling FDA to excel at its food safety mission, fully empowering the agency’s foods program leader would facilitate delivery of the budget transparency that funding authorizers in Congress demand and that stakeholders want.

Congress has echoed our concerns, so we are hopeful the unified program can eventually become reality. 

And, if we’re talking about advocacy, we can’t forget the value of advancements in processing – an integral piece of developing a food supply that is both accessible and healthy. Accessibility is a major part of our and our members’ focus because food processing can help keep costs down and adds convenience for consumers (to offer perhaps the most impactful example, think about how the pasteurization of dairy shifted how Americans can consume it).

Moreover, for food to be considered ‘shelf stable,’ it has to be heat treaded or dried – processed – to meet that benchmark. In many cases, processing is what keeps our food supply safe: like pasteurization, some processing methods work to combat foodborne illnesses or keep food safe during the storage and shipping process.

Our members have been at the forefront of ensuring the best quality and safest food so they can continue to deliver for consumers. Processing is a key piece of getting products to store shelves, so we will continue to advocate for their ability to pursue innovative solutions to meet consumers’ needs safely and effectively. 

Read more here.