As the recent outbreak of food poisoning at Chipotle Mexican Grill shows, even the most commercially successful restaurants are vulnerable to food safety issues. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with protecting consumers from foodborne illnesses through requirements outlined in its Food Code safety guidelines. The FDA requires controls be in place for the management of foodborne illness risk factors.
In the old days when the vast majority the US population lived on farms and farmed their own land, animals and crops were harvested onsite and consumed in a matter of hours. Today we talk of “food flows” in which broad categories of activities are necessary, and many stages of harvesting and preparation are required. These activities are now often spread over thousands of miles. IndustryTap has reported on “frankenfood” and glowing plants and the promise and risks of corporate farming and synthetic biology.
Complicating matters are modern economic concepts such as cost control and time to market and the need to strike the right balance with other necessities such as food quality, perishability, and the like.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
The FDA’s HACCP System manages food safety through analysis and control of chemical, biological and physical hazards that can occur at any stage from harvesting the food to putting it on the table.
The following video provides a short history of the modern FDA program and plans to modernize the food safety system.