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TAG December 28, 2017 0 Comments

It’s always interesting to take a look back on the year and think about the events and issues that were of the greatest significance to you. But it’s even more interesting to look back and see what others saw as most significant. And that’s exactly what we are doing in this issue – taking a look at what you, our readers, found to be the most significant – or read-worthy – TAG articles of the 2017. To determine those, we compiled a list of most-read articles – the Top 17 of ’17, then grouped these into five general topics. What we found was that our readers were most interested in anything to do with Listeria and its environmental monitoring and control. Running a close second were articles on regulations (particularly FSMA) and standards (GFSI). There was then a bit of a jump to the next three groupings, but of general interest tended to be articles on the U.S. (#3) and international (#4) political scene, and, interestingly, our look back at 2016 made the top 17. So let’s take a look back at the top issues of the year: 1. Lm and Environmental Monitoring. In January, FDA passed Draft Guidance for Industry: Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-To-Eat Foods. Between that and the Agency’s implementation of Preventive Controls inspections, the phrase “swab-a-thons” has become an industry buzzword. FDA is swabbing surfaces – at a seemingly frenetic pace of 150 to 200 microbiological samples per facility across all zones. And FDA is issuing 483s when samples come back positive. To assist food facilities in conducting you own environmental monitoring and testing – including the pros and cons of whole genome sequencing (WGS), and to detail some control solutions, we wrote about Listeria in some way in more than half the newsletters of 2017. This was of obvious interest to the industry, since those newsletters make up more than a third of your top 17. You’ve Found Lm on a Food Contact Surface. Now What? Lm Draft Guidance Provides Detailed Specifications for RTE Foods Sampling for Lm: The Where, When and How Industry News: Lm What is the Right Balance and Are We Going Too Far? Why Paying Attention to your Environmental Control Program is so Important To WGS or Not to WGS 2. Regulation and Standards. FSMA and GFSI tend to draw in readers, almost regardless of what is discussed in these areas – as evidenced not only by the five top-read articles, but also the ranking of the newsletter which included both GFSI and FSMA in the headline as your #1 read article of 2017. It’s not really a surprise – FSMA is finally (almost completely) in play for all but some very small facilities, and many customers require GFSI of their food suppliers. Thus, both are dominant forces for food facilities. But because those aren’t the only regulatory/standards factors of the industry, we also found that other regulatory issues – such as those of USDA and labeling – held high interest among readers. If you missed any of these, take a look now: What Does It Mean to be GFSI Certified in a FSMA Environment? (#1) FDA Press Release Policy, FSMA Preparedness & More! Have the Regulators Gone Nuts? – FDA Mock Assessment & More! New FDA Guidances, GFSI Certification Challenges & More! Standardized Date Labeling on Food: Not Required but Highly Recommended 3. Government and Politics. We don’t tend to write many articles of a political nature, but those that include even a remote focus on the impacts of government and politics do seem to be of interest to TAG readers. Again, it’s not a surprise with the industry under the thumb of agencies which generally lack the resources for full implementation of the regulations that are imposed; OIG blasting these agencies several times over inadequacies; and the continued threats of regulatory hurdles in the U.S. that negatively impact food safety and cause “filthy food” headlines. Food Safety Not a Factor in Trump Budget Blueprint FDA Blasted Again by the Office of the Inspector General and Consequences for Industry Filthy Food Headlines: A Political Play to Create Unnecessary Consumer Anguish 4. International. Despite the current U.S. trend toward isolationism, it is a global world in which we live, and a global supply chain in which food facilities must operate. As such, international supply and regulation – particularly those of our Neighbor to the North – are of critical importance, and are areas on which we keep a close eye throughout the year to help keep you informed as well. Canada’s Proposed Food Safety Rule: What It Means for You Imported Fish and Produce Becoming Increasingly Risky 5. Year in Review. With last year’s year in review hitting the top-17 read list, we hope that you find this year’s article of interest as well. Was “More” an Accurate” TAG” line for 2016? And with that, we wish you all the best of the holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year. About The Acheson Group (TAG) Led by Former FDA Associate Commissioner for Foods Dr. David Acheson, TAG is a food safety consulting group that provides guidance and expertise worldwide for companies throughout the food supply chain. With in-depth industry knowledge combined with real-world experience, TAG’s team of food safety experts help companies more effectively mitigate risk, improve operational efficiencies, and ensure regulatory and standards compliance.


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