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Given the enormous challenges that inspection poses as a regulatory strategy for ensuring food safety, the past sevearl decades have seen a push towards alternative tools to protect the food supply. Three themes are commonly observed in policy debates. First, an emphasis on risk estimation. Although sometimes connoting particular quantitative methods, the basic idea is straightforward. The particular risks posed to the food supply should be identified and estiamted. Without knowing—and often quantifying—what the risks of contamination or adulteration are, it is difficult to protect against them. Second, resources should be allocated to points in the food chain that are particularly vulnerable. Rather than inspecting every egg both before and after cracking, target locations or moments of particular vulnerability to contamination. Or, rely more extensively on auditing and sampling methods. Third, decentralize the formulation of hazard prevention and response to regulated parties. Most food etablishments must today parepare a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plan. An overview is included below. While a HACCP sounds technical, it is really nothing more than working through what and where the risks to food safety are in a given facility and making a plan on how to prevent and respond. Over time, federal agencies increasingly oversee the formulation and adoption of these private plans for food safety action rather than imposing particular requirements in rules or regulations. One way of understanding this trend is as a shift away from command and control regulatory tools. In the environmental policy domain, this has meant relying on performance controls that leave it up to regulated parties to decide how to best reduce pollution to a given level, rather than technology controls that demand a particular kind of scrubber be used to reduce pollution. In the food context, rather than relying on finished product inspectino, the HACCP model is a systematic preventative appraoch to food safety that addresses physical, chemical, and biological hazards at each stage of the food production process. HACCP is thus a methodological innovation and it is used by both USDA and FDA.
Although HACCP has only recently found favor with government regulators, it has been around at least since the 1950s, apparently developed jointly by the Pillsbury Company and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), who needed safe food that could be consumed in space. See Food Code 2001, Recommendations of the United States Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration 424 (2001). Down on earth, Pillsbury introduced the HACCP system after food safety problems with their baby food. See William H. Sperber and Richard F. Stier, Happy 50th Birthday to HACCP: Retrospective and Prospective, Food Sfaety Mag. (2009/2010). In the mid 1980's, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) wrote that “government agencies responsible for control of microbiological hazards in foods should promulgate appropriate regulations that would require industry to utilize the HACCP systems in their food protection programs.” An Evaluation of the Role of Microbiological Criteria for Foods and Food Ingredients 329, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences (1985). FDA adopted the HACCP principles for seafood inspection in 1995, followed by the USDA for meat and poultry inspection in 1997. Roberts, Food Law at 142.
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|2||Show/Hide More||American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO v. Glickman, 215 F.3d 7 (D.C. Cir. 2000).|
|4||Show/Hide More||Food & Water Watch, Inc v. Vilsack, 808 F.3d 905 (D.C. Cir. 2015)|
August 21, 2017
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