21 Feb 2014
US FDA Launches Pilot Testing Study for Raw Milk Cheese
On 19 December 2013 the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) announced that they would launch a pilot testing program to sample and test domestic and imported raw milk cheese aged at least 60 days1. Testing started in January 2014 and will last throughout 2014.
1,600 total samples will be tested of which 70% will be imported product and 30% will be domestically made product. Product will be tested anywhere along the supplier chain for domestic product whereas imported product will be tested at the point of entry. Samples will be tested for Salmonella species, Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7.2 Results of the pilot study will be published after the end of the pilot study so the earliest will be January 2015. Imported product that tests positive for one or more pathogen will be placed on the import alert 12-103 which is to block cheese with microbiological contamination from entering the US. Domestic products with confirmed pathogens will be subject to a recall or market recovery depending if the product is or is not under the control of the manufacture.
US FDA completed and ongoing risk assessment projects4
The US FDA has various risk assessment projects that are ongoing. Currently the US FDA is collecting scientific data on Hepatitis A Virus in Produce, Transmission of Norovirus, Listeria in Fresh Produce and Pathogens and Filth in Spices in addition to the Pathogens in Raw-Milk Cheese project. Some of these projects are performed with other US government agencies, countries, universities and the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN)5.
JIFSAN at foodrisk.org was developed to “assist professionals involved with the many aspects of risk analysis as it pertains to the safety of” food. One of the programs available at foodrisk.org is the FDA-iRisk comparative risk assessment tool, which will enable users to predict effectiveness of prevention and control measures and compare and rank risks from multiple foodborne microbial and chemical hazards.
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