Thursday, February 2, 2012

State Food Safety Laws Taking Effect This Year

The New Year is serving up a plateful of food safety-related laws in several states, a direct result of the rash of foodborne-illness outbreaks in recent years.

The years-old FDA food safety guidelines are not mandatory, but are used by many state and local jurisdictions to develop their food safety standards, which form the foundation of food safety training for food handler certification.

In Oregon, for instance, a new law now allows the state Department of Agriculture to forego routine inspection of food establishments selling only prepackaged foods or of establishments that do not sell food and beverage as their primary items.

In California, a new prohibition involves any beer with caffeine included in it as a separate ingredient.
Both Oregon and California now prohibit the possession, sales, trade or distribution of shark fins.  Shark fins bought before Jan. 1, 2012 can still be included in menus until Jan. 1, 2013.

The National Conference on State Legislatures (NCSL) expects "food safety and systems" will be on many states’ agenda next year.

"With the recent deaths from listeria-contaminated cantaloupes and salmonella outbreaks in eggs, food safety is topping many agendas," NCSL said. "Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act in January 2011, which enhances the nation's food safety regimen, much of which is done by states.”

Meanwhile, with food safety and public health on top of most everyone’s list in the food industry this new year, the top food safety organizations came together last Jan 2012 to discuss a critically important issue—food attribution, that is, associating specific foodborne illnesses to specific foods. Because of the importance of the meeting, attendees included the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The meeting was held in Washington, D.C.

In addition to existing FDA food safety guidelines, many states are now forging stricter food safety standards that form the foundation of food safety training for food handler certification of restaurant workers in their jurisdictions.

"The purpose of the daylong meeting [was] to discuss federal approaches to food source attribution and outline efforts to develop harmonized food source attribution fractions to inform food safety strategies," according to the organizers. "The meeting also [was] used to review a draft Strategic Plan developed by the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration [IFSAC], which was formed this year to increase collaboration on analytic projects."

At, a portal of top e-learning a hub, online training programs in food safety training and food handler certification help address the many critical issues of food safety, which is a top concern of many states this year and an ever-growing advocacy of the dining public.
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