CAMPAIGN-3: Community Resource Management Ideas

GAO URGENT ISSUE#4: FOOD SAFETY/HAZARD PREVENTION/PREPAREDNESS

SUBJECT:

The Government Accountability Office Identified FOOD SAFETY as being among 13 “Urgent Issues” that require urgent attention and continuing oversight to ensure the nation’s security and well-being.

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PURPOSE:

This thread provides education and an opportunity for USERS to address the Food Safety/Hazard Prevention and Preparedness niche by providing Ideas to assist with the continued improvement of national Food Safety and Security. An assumption made herein is that an individual who IS AQUAINTED with this topic and how food should be handled under normal circumstances will contribute to food safety and will better gauge how to handle food challenges during a disaster. This undertaking is also in compliance with:

1. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), that was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. The FSMA “aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to PREVENTING IT.” For details please see: http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/fsma/default.htm

2. The U.S. PANDEMIC AND ALL HAZARDS PREPAREDNESS ACT:

http://www.phe.gov/preparedness/legal/pahpa/pages/default.aspx

3. GAO URGENT ISSUE #4: FOOD SAFETY:

http://www.gao.gov/press/press-transition-release2008nov06.pdf

4. NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS COMMUNITY CORE TOPICS:

http://community.fema.govdelivery.com/connect.ti/readynpm/messageshowthread?threadid=43182

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LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

Learn basic normal Food Safety, Identify basic Food safety problems, gain Food hazard Awareness, acquaint the reader with Agroterrorism, learn the consequences of not being prepared, and some useful Food planning and preparedness ideas that everyone can undertake.

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METHODOLOGY:

Elucidate the basic processes necessary to keep our Food Supply chain safe (see background). Point to facts and U.S. historic events to bring about awareness such that the reader can understand Food Safety/Hazards and threats and be confronted with the seriousness of being prepared, understand the consequences of not being prepared, gain insight into the warning signs and the importance of learning and adopting basic methods and tactics that will enhance their outcome in future incidences. Provide the reader with primary web based Preparedness resources, provide Case Studies, provide references for further education opportunities. Demonstrate how volunteers can be utilized when personnel expansion is critical, the chances of successful implementation and utilization of e.g. CERT may positively enhance the outcome.

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BACKGROUND:

In Food Safety/Hazard scenarios, being alert and in-tune with current events will provide all individuals with an enhanced degree of preparedness, and potentially will allow lead-time to compensate for an impending incident. Some of the target areas to protect in the food safety chain include: farms, feedlots, chemical storage facilities, meatpacking plants, distribution operations, grocery stores and home supplies. The “SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING” motto strongly applies to Food Safety/Hazard Prevention and Preparedness, because officials need to catch events within this category as soon as possible. This thread is not meant to produce fear, but rather provide insight, awareness, and preparedness such that (when a Food Safety Hazard occurs):

=> EARLY RECOGNITION of warning signs can occur…

=> The on-scene individuals will ALERT OFFICIALS sooner…

=> Early alert lends to early RESPONSE, REHABILITATION, & RECONSTRUCTION time…

=> the aforementioned resulting in an overall reduction or decrease in incident related losses.

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TOPIC QUESTION:

I would like to ask the reader to provide data and more reference links for this thread that will clarify how we can be prepared and/or elucidate areas that need improvement in Food Safety/Hazard Prevention and Preparedness e.g. the City of Houston, TX:

http://www.houstontx.gov/health/Food/post-disaster.htm

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SCOPE/AUTHORITY:

This is a broad topic and the content was intentionally restricted & kept concise with links to web resources (provided for readers) who wish to track source materials and expand their knowledge or research. I am a scientist, but I am not an expert in this field, and thus this thread presents basic concepts, resources, and materials derived from known authoritative agencies. Information contained herein is my interpretation only, and is not all inclusive. Also, extreme temperatures, windstorms, droughts and earthquakes are not addressed and I made no attempt to fine tune pre-existing prevention, mitigation, and preparedness strategies related to the topic of Food Safety/Hazards.

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INTRODUCTION:

Generally when we think of NPC threads and posts we may be thinking directly about disasters and other major events that occur naturally, however, Food Safety/Hazards is a field comprised of Environmental and/or Insect incidence, accidental contamination, Terrorism and vast other hypothetical scenarios that can not be accounted for herein. Each potential scenario requires reporting, investigation, and coordination at the local, state, and national level. Environmental events may compromise our food supply and yield collateral smaller events impact our supply chains, storage capability, mobility, and other areas resulting in both shortages and economic issues. Accidental contamination could contain vectors such as pesticides, run off, oil spills and other sources that may destroy crops or result in an insidious presentation such as being consumed and produce illness in civilians. Furthermore, the reader will briefly learn about Agroterrorism (A.K.A. intentional food adulteration) which is an unfortunate possibility due to greed, mental illness, power struggles, impulsivity+rage, and unjustified unprovoked victimization of the innocent by enemies at home and abroad. Throughout this information I also briefly describe specific food disaster scenarios common to farms and live stock that may compromise short term supplies as well as impact long term planning.

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EXAMPLES OF FOOD SAFETY/ HAZARD INCIDENCE IN THE U.S.

1. The 1984 Rajneeshee Bioterror Attack, in The Dalles, Oregon, a religious cult intentionally contaminated 10 restaurant salad bars with salmonella, infecting 751 people in an attempt to influence the outcome of a local election. See this article for further details:

http://uscsrh.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Evaluating-the-1984-Rajneeshee-Bioterror-Attack-Lessons-Learned/165177-29117

2. In 2002 al Qaeda documents were uncovered, in Afghanistan, that target our food supply.

3. Market manipulators, Activists, and disgruntled individuals could attack the food supply as well.

4. In 2010 - An accidental explosion occurs on board the BP-Transocean Ltd. Deepwater Horizon oil rig, spilling ~210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Farmers estimate millions in damages.

5. A 2014 California wildfire report, enumerating economic damages including vineyards see:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-11/early-california-wildfires-jeopardize-homes-and-vineyards.html

6. Tennessee 2013, flood water can kill crops in 2-4 days, but in this case delayed planting of crops, see the full article at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-22/u-s-midwest-floods-delay-corn-sowing-after-drought-curbed-crop.html

7. Kansas 2013 Crop damage due to record freeze, see full article at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-23/record-freeze-in-u-s-extending-wheat-crop-damage-commodities.html

8. OUTBREAKS: From 2009-2011 the CDC reported 12 accidental outbreaks of Listeria bacteria accidental contamination of milk and cheese products (5 of which were multi-state outbreaks). Here is the Listeria and other outbreak articles:

FDA Investigates presence of Listeria in some Hispanic-style Cheeses:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm386726.htm

FDA Investigates Illnesses linked to Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm385259.htm

FDA Investigates Puffer Fish Poisoning Illness in Virginia:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm382240.htm

FDA Investigates Outbreak of Salmonella Stanley Cashew Cheese-The Cultured Kitchen:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm380307.htm

FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157 - Pre-packaged Salad Products:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm374327.htm

9. PESTICIDE HAZARDS (look-up tool):

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/chemical_fs.htm

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COMMON U.S. FOOD HAZARD PROBLEMS TO BE ADDRESSED:

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1. (LIMITATIONS OF PERSONNEL) MUCH LIKE FIRES AND FLOODS, AN OUTBREAK OR AGROTERRORISM EVENT COULD OVERWHELM LOCAL PROFESSIONALS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT QUICKLY DUE TO THE MAGNITUDE OF PERSONNEL NEEDED FOR CONTAINMENT, QUARANTINING, DURATION, AND ERRADICATION PROCEDURES.

2. (LIMITATIONS OF SUPPLIES) It is estimated that most stores contain a 7 day supply of food, and a major food hazard could easily cause a local and/or expanded and/or protracted shortage.

3. (LIMITATIONS OF SECURITY) It has been suggested that there is typically inadequate bio-surveillance control to detect food adulteration on farms, (potentially because it has not been an on going threat or covered by mainstream media).

4. (INTRINSIC VULNERABILITY) It has been suggested that there is a lack of security at many processing and packing plants, and this contributes to the ease of perpetrating a food-borne attack.

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SPECIAL FOOD HAZARD “AGROTERRORISM or AGRITERRORISM:”

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Terrorists rely on a lack of preparedness and we must all report abnormalities!!! Agroterrorism is a sub-set of bioterrorism, and describes food hazards that may be intentionally introduced as acts of terrorism including contamination, disruption of processes, destruction of infrastructure or products, false-calls which generate fear or undermining social stability and confidence in our government. The food industry is tightly regulated because of this potential for abuses, and also because farms and businesses of the agriculture industry account for billions of dollars towards our U.S. economy. Argoterrorism is a real threat because many terrorists have a goal of disrupting our economy and the perversion of legitimate and non-legitimate ideologies allows for victimization of innocent civilians. Our security coverage is vast and sophisticated, specializing in international imports, and domestic safeguards, but acreage and the supply chain in, many cases is, to large to micromanage and completely protect, thus poses a serious attack vector. One chief concern is Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) virus which poses a threat to our live stock. (e.g. The UK suffered losses of 4 million cattle in 2001 due to FMD). Terrorist biological attack vectors for food products may include FMD virus, but could also include bacteria such as botulism, E. coli, and salmonella. Currently there are many safeguards and agencies in place optimizing and improving our capabilities daily. The FBI article below states that there are 3 chief losses due to Argoterrorism including: “direct losses due to containment measures, such as stop-movement orders (SMOs) or quarantines of suspected stock. Additional costs would arise from the culling and destruction of disease-ridden livestock, Second, indirect multiplier effects, such as compensation to farmers for destruction of agricultural commodities and losses suffered by directly and indirectly related industries would arise. Third, international costs would result from protective trade embargoes.” For further information on this topic please see:

CDC BIOTERRORISM AGENTS AND DISEASE LIST:

http://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/agentlist.asp

FBI ARTICLE:

http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/february-2012/agroterrorism

FOOD ADULTERATION RESOURCE: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm383595.htm

FDA (2013) RULE:

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/UCM379548.pdf

INFORMATIVE RESOURCE:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agro-terrorism

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EXAMPLE WARNING SIGNS AND SIMPLIFIED NEXT STEPS:

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There is a vast quantity of potential Food safety/hazard hypothetical scenarios which then yield vast types of warning signs, therefore communities must educate specialists who can identify, predict, and plan for Food Safety issues. Lay individuals can identify basic food safety issues through basic education (please see the reference website links I have provided throughout this thread to obtain all of your educational materials). For the sake of example, the following are basic scenarios whereby lay individuals and volunteers can make a difference by either alerting officials, following the instructions of officials, or assisting officials in the Food Safety industry. Examples:

1. A food safety/hazard could have harbingers such as weather in which case local and national news could provide a small window of time for all parties involved to prepare=>All affected parties should attempt to follow WARNINGS and instructions delegated by the respective authorities.

2. A rapid spontaneous event such as a wild fire near a farm is recognized by smoke. Wildfires can be planned for by clearing sections of land such that the discontinuous distribution of combustible vegetation (lack of material) prevents the spread of the fire =>Affected parties should attempt to follow and comply with the safety WARNINGS and practices pertaining to their land…volunteers can provide expanded personnel and supplies as needed to extinguish a fire such as shoveling dirt onto smoldering embers.

3. Individuals: unfortunately, food safety hazards can be insidious such as contamination of food products, and be distributed to other regions and the public before detected…All individuals must be vigilant and stay connected to the various WARNING postings and venues available locally and nationally. If an individual sees an abnormality, report it to the local public health office.

4. Businesses: Warnings are posted by government agencies that regulate and provide guidelines for all of the businesses and individuals in the supply chain, therefore, said individuals should practice daily alert surveillance by checking the following website:

USDA FOOD OUTBREAKS:

http://fsrio.nal.usda.gov/outbreak-surveillance

CDC FOOD OUTBREAKS:

http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/outbreaks/

FDA FOOD OUTBREAKS:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/

U.S. DEPT OF AGRICULTURE MAIN:

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome

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CONSEQUENCES:

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An important example of “SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING” …Hypothetically, if a farmer has several cattle go missing for several days, then they miraculously re-appear =>the ALERT should be sounded =>the cattle may have been compromised, the Farmer must quarantine the cattle => notify local officials who must => launch a preliminary investigation. To be clear, any individual who does not react appropriately is derelict, and (via domino or cascading effects) a crisis may result. Furthermore, if we do not (all work together) and be vigilant to avoid and thwart Food Safety Hazards, supplies will be in short demand, the economy will be adversely impacted, there could be corresponding loss of jobs, National funds designated for other programs will be diverted to rehabilitate or reconstruct damages, and the costs of food products will sore.

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SOLUTIONS:

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1. Local officials will be forward reports of major food related incidents to their states’ intelligence-fusion centers, threat-integration centers, and other law enforcement intelligence units or networks.

2. Furthermore, FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network was created to manage not just outbreak response, but also surveillance and post-response activities related to incidents involving multiple illnesses linked to FDA-regulated human and animal food and cosmetic products.

3. For businesses, there are food outbreak mitigation strategies located here: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm383595.htm

The local grocery store is where consumers will be impacted, thus consider the following brief issues and resolution=> At the level of the local grocery store there exists two choke points: First, the amount of food they stock is limited to the size of the store, and Second, the flow of goods to their store is limited to their ability to DIVERSIFY GOODS AND SUPPLIERS. Speaking of said diversification, each local grocery store could have a primary Plan-A to buy locally grown fresh goods and keep costs low, then shift to Plan-B and receive goods from other states as (e.g. powered milk & potatoes, microwave meals and frozen produce, and canned goods). Plan-B may cost more money due to shipping and handling. Passing the extra cost on to customers during a crisis may further escalate civil unrest. In fairness I must mention, if in the event a shift to Plan-B causes rare undue financial strain on a given group of local grocery stores during a major Food Safety/Hazard FEMA should consider a custom assistance plan to compensate.

4. Families and all individuals could prepare for Food Safety/Hazards by keeping a 3 day supply of non-perishable food supplies in the home (this compensates for the finite space available at the local grocery store). Also, households can always try to be more conscientious about wastefulness especially during an incident. All individuals should receive basic food safety education (references are included in the education section of this thread).

5. In a Agroterrorist event, the dangers must be assessed prior to deployment of personnel equipped to handle and bring cessation and recovery to the incident. This could mean a lengthy wait period for non-local experts and other professionals. An expansion cadre could potentially be assembled or achieved through local volunteers. If a known threat or hazard requires expansion of personnel, civilian volunteer patrols could be utilized, and should be designated prior to onset of an incident. Other than implementing the “see something say something protocol” at all times, volunteers such as NPC members or CERT could fill the demand for expansion of personnel to provide specific assistance with (e.g. containment of the known infected area, the presumed exposed area, and the surrounding area by expanding the available surveillance and containment options).

6. SAFEGUARDS: All individuals within a community’s supply chain should follow these minimum safeguards…

A. Plan for the impact of a Food Safety/Hazard on your business so that your goods and services are able to meet the demands of the marketplace. This includes diversification of goods and sources or distributors.

B. Plan for the impact of a Food Safety/Hazard on your employees and customers.

C. Establish policies to be implemented during a Food Safety issues/hazards.

D. Allocate resources to protect your employees and customers.

E. Communicate with and educate your employees and customers on effective strategies to deal with a particular type of Food safety issue/hazard.

F. Coordinate with external organizations and help your community.

G. Facilitate exercises to assist in the training of staff, and to develop dialogs between various business and/or community agencies who may be involved in emergencies management of food safety issues, hazards, and shortages.

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EMERGENCY FOOD SAFETY RESOURCES:

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It is important to keep food safe during and after an emergency, such as a flood, fire, national disaster, or the loss of power, the following are core guidelines to implemented during Emergencies:

USDA EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS GUIDES:

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/emergency-preparedness/emergency-preparedness-index

(Provides materials, including videos and podcasts, on ensuring food safety during emergencies)

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FDA (Food and Water Safety During Hurricanes, Power Outages, and Floods):

http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm076881.htm

(Proper safety precautions to keep food and water safe)

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CDC FOOD SAFETY:

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/foodwater/facts.asp

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/foodwater/

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REFRIGERATED FOOD SAFETY:

http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/refridg_food.html

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FROZEN FOOD SAFETY:

http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/frozen_food.html

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PRIMARY FAMILY RESOURCE:

http://www.ready.gov/food

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GET YOUR EMERGENCY SUPPLY LIST HERE:

http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1390846764394-dc08e309debe561d866b05ac84daf1ee/checklist_2014.pdf

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CDC FOOD DISEASE ATLAS:

http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/reportspubs/salmonella-atlas/index.html

CDC announced the availability of amazing Atlas which is a Salmonella Infection knowledgebase (including sources of infection, geographic locations where infections occur most, who gets infected, and seasonal trends) access this information here: -

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FACT: Did you know a normal looking egg could contain “Salmonella Enteritidis,” ….and if the egg is undercooked => it will definitely make you sick!

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HEALTH TOLL: The CDC estimates that “Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses each year in the United States, with about 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths.

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SALMONELLA THREAT IMPRESSION: be very careful to fully cook your eggs!

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EXAMPLE CASE STUDIES EXPOSING THE SERIOUSNESS OF AGRICULTURAL HAZARDS:

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EFFECTS OF FOREST FIRES ON AGRICULTURE:

http://www.istf-bethesda.org/specialreports/fuego_fire/fire_ecology-eng.pdf

Summary => controlled burning is highlighted in this article as a means to create sections of land that fires can not cross, and thus thwart mass collateral damages during uncontrolled outbreaks/disasters

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THE EFFECTS OF OIL SPILLS ON AGRICULTURE:

http://jcea.agr.hr/articles/315_THE_EFFECT_OF_OIL_SPILLAGE_ON_CROP_YIELD_AND_FARM_INCOME_IN_DELTA_STATE_NIGERIA_en.pdf

Summary => (to avoid blowback, an oil spill study in Nigeria was chosen to demonstrate damages)

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EFFECTS OF FLOODING ON AGRICULTURE:

http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=AGW1014

Summary => (A University of Missouri college of Agronomy study stated that floods cause Contamination and oxygen depravation that may renders the crops dead and unsalvageable if the water is not pumped away within 36-48 hours).

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EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES:

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Data within this thread references information from CDC and FDA guidelines or recommendations for food safety.

HUB FOR FOOD SAFETY INFORMATION::

http://www.foodsafety.gov/index.html

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FDA (Reference of temperatures to store & cook food including duration/viability):

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/PeopleAtRisk/ucm109156.htm

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/PeopleAtRisk/ucm109104.htm

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AGRITERRORISM:

http://www.investorideas.com/companies/homelanddefense/News/Agriterrorism.asp

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ABOUT THE FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT (FSMA):

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The Food Safety Modernization Act is a response by the Federal Government to the need to safeguard consumers from the risk of food-borne illnesses. As stated in the guidance on the FDA website, It enables FDA to focus more on preventing food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to problems after they occur." The Act includes the implementation of mandatory supplier verification programs. The importance of the proposed ruling is to require domestic and foreign food facilities to register under the Federal Food Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) to mitigate safety issues. The FDA has begun inspecting against the Act's requirements as of mid-2012 (access the FDA website to view guidance documents targeted at specific segments of the food industry, as well as related detail on FSMA implementation, is at:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FSMA/default.htm

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FINAL IMPRESSIONS:

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When a Food Safety/Hazard strikes the impact can be sustained (perhaps lasting an entire year for farmers), and their products are off of the market, resulting in shortages for everyone. All individuals in the supply chain are affected differently, thus separate preparedness plans must be created for each major node from farmer to consumer. Since food shortage could turn into a public safety issue, all state officials should review the food and supplier diversification plans of all major grocers for every city and village to ensure they all have back-up distributors and products as a STOP-GAP measure (as discuss in the solutions section). In current times, all U.S. constituents must be in tune with warning systems, and be reassured that reporting abnormalities is a civic duty that brings value to the entire nation. Also as an additional stop-gap measure, I believe in the power and potential of U.S. volunteers, and believe CERT and others could effectively assist in various aspects of Food Safety Hazards. Finally, if professionals in this field find this information to be lacking and are aspired to post more official reference materials, I would not be offended, and will have achieved my goal of creating a hub and elucidating Total Coverage for this particular Preparedness niche.

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MIRRORED INFORMATION:

http://scitech.ideascale.com/a/dtd/GAO-URGENT-ISSUE-4-FOOD-SAFETY-HAZARD-PREVENTION-PREPAREDNESS/521990-30851

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