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FDA issues food security guidelines

In January, the Food and Drug Administration issued guidance to food producers, processors, transporters, and retailers outlining food-security measures aimed at reducing the risks of tampering or other terrorist acts.

The agency noted that the guidance is not binding and that operators should determine which preventive measures are suitable for their operations.

The guidance specifically addressed raw materials and packaging. Among the preventive measures suggested were the following:

• Use only known sources for all ingredients, including packaging and labeling.

• Authenticate labeling and packaging configuration before receiving shipments.

• Inspect and possibly test incoming packaging and labeling for signs of tampering.

• Request locked and sealed containers from the supplier, verify upon receipt, and maintain a chain of custody once the seal is broken.

• reconcile the amount received with the amount ordered.

• Supervise off-loading of incoming packaging and labels.

• Keep track of ingredients, packaging, and labeling.

• Investigate missing, additional stock, or other irregularities.

• Alert law enforcement about evidence of tampering.

• Destroy outdated or discarded labels.

The National Food Processors Assn. praised FDA’s food-security guidance, noting it is both “comprehensive and flexible,” allowing companies to determine how best to apply it to their own operations.

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