Foodborne illness reporting system launched


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
September 7, 2009

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday launched a new method for heading off foodborne illnesses by requiring all food manufacturers to report potential cases online within 24 hours.

The Reportable Food Registry (RFR), the result of legislation, requires all facilities that manufacture, process or store food for consumption in the United States to notify the FDA if there is a reasonable chance that a product may sicken or kill people or animals.

The reporting requirement applies to all foods and animal feed regulated by the FDA, except infant formula and dietary supplements, which are covered by other regulatory requirements. Some examples of reasons a food may be reportable include bacterial contamination, allergen mislabeling or elevated levels of certain chemical components.

“President Obama has pledged to strengthen food safety,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. “The opening of the RFR electronic portal represents a significant step toward that pledge.”

“By fostering real-time submission to the FDA of information on food safety hazards, the registry enhances FDA’s ability to act quickly to prevent foodborne illness,” said Michael R. Taylor, senior advisor to the commissioner. “Working with the food industry, we can swiftly remove contaminated products from commerce and keep them out of consumers’ hands.”

A Federal Register notice was issued on Tuesday announcing the opening of the RFR electronic portal and the availability of final guidance to assist the food industry in complying with the RFR’s requirements.

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