• A Primer for Submitting Your FSMA “Request for Comments” on Food Fraud/ Economically Motivated Adulteration

    by John Spink • March 20, 2013 • Blog • 0 Comments

    FT-0113-COV1-SPINE.inddThe US Food and Drug Administration released two draft rulemaking documents in January 2013 for the Food Safety Modernization Act that was passed in January 2011:

    FDA was required to submit the draft rulemaking documents to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – over 1,200 pages, which FDA actually submitted early – in December 2011.  OMB reviewed, edited, and then released the documents to the Federal Register in January 2013.  FDA is soliciting feedback via the formal Request for Comments process. There are specific Request for Comments that address “Economically Motivated Adulteration” (EMA) or more broadly, Food Fraud. To note, FSMA doesn’t mention EMA and uses the term “intentional adulteration.” FDA directly addressing FF/EMA emphasizes its significant interest in the concepts.

    Before you address the FF/EMA  questions it is important to review the base concepts and characteristics of the underlying fraud opportunity. Read the following two publications to gain an understanding of the base concepts.

    Publication: Understanding and Combating Food Fraud, Food Technology, January 2013

    With my co-author, Douglas C Moyer, we’d like to thank Food Technology magazine and the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) for the opportunity to publish a cover. Editor Bob Swieteck was very supportive through the process and we hope to continue bringing Food Fraud insights to the readership.

    The article is especially important in that we addressed some of the more confusing or misunderstood aspects of Food Fraud and we raise the idea of a “Food Fraud Manager.” We end the article with “Perhaps in a few years, after incorporating criminology into food safety and food science, it may be equally difficult to remember a food safety program that did not include a Food Fraud Manager.”

    Publication: Defining the Public Health Threat of Food Fraud, Journal of Food Science, November 2011

    Again, Doug and I would like to thank the Institute of Food Technologists for publishing our first major work on Food Fraud.  Former IFT Director of Science & Technology Projects, Jennifer McEntire, was especially supportive of us pursuing the Journal of Food Science. This research project was originally funded by the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, which is funded by the Department of Homeland Security, FDA, and USDA.

    This article is especially important since it was the first article in a scholarly journal defining Food Fraud and specifically the public health threats. The behavioral sciences and criminology concepts are applied to the fraud opportunity inherent in food ingredients and products. Beyond defining the terms, we defined the types of Food Fraud risks, as well as outlined the preventative approach. This original article has formed the scholarly foundation for a series of other articles and it is being widely referenced in the FSMA and Food Fraud discussions. Since the publication of these articles, we have noticed that the broader concept of “fraud” and not just “adulteration” has been embraced… along with referring to “bad guys” and “fraudsters.”

    The Next Step

    It was important to step back to those resources and review the foundational elements of Food Fraud and Economically Motivated Adulteration before we review the FSMA Request for Comments related to the topics. We will review those in the next blog post. Also, we will be soliciting feedback and comments on the most important sections of the draft rulemaking documents.  JWS.


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