U.S – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a Federal Register Notice to formally announce a three-day public meeting to discuss the safety of foods sold online and delivered directly to consumers.
The FDA New Era of Smarter Food Safety Summit on E-Commerce: ‘Ensuring the Safety of Foods Ordered Online and Delivered Directly to Consumers’ will take place virtually in October 19-21, 2021. The summit is designed to help the agency improve its understanding of how human and animal foods are sold through Business to Consumer (B2C) e-commerce models across the U.S. and globally.
The number of consumers ordering food online has been steadily increasing over the years, but it has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to reports of consumer buying patterns. As a result, convening this summit is a goal set in FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint. The blueprint’s goal is to convene a summit to identify courses of action to address potential food safety vulnerabilities, including those that may arise in the “last mile” of delivery.
Topics for discussion during the summit include types of B2C e-commerce models e.g., produce and meal kit subscription services, ghost kitchens, dark stores, Safety risks associated with foods sold through B2C e-commerce, Standards of care used by industry to control these safety risks, types of delivery models e.g., third-party delivery, autonomous delivery models. Other topic will be, Regulatory approaches to food sold through B2C e-commerce, including challenges and gaps that need to be addressed, and Labeling of foods sold through B2C e-commerce.
The FDA intends to take lessons during the public meeting, and from comments submitted to the Federal Register, and use them to aid in determining what actions, if any, may be needed to keep consumers safe.
During the three-day event, there will be opportunities for public comment each day. Participants who wish to speak during the public comment sessions must register as indicated in the Federal Register Notice by October 8, 2021. In addition, FDA will open a public docket to receive additional comments about these topics. Public comments can be submitted electronically now through November 20, 2021.
To access the free summit, attendees have to register online.
It is an opportunity for FDA to further its collaboration on food safety with federal, state, local, and tribal regulatory partners, and a broad array of stakeholders, including industry, consumers, consumer and public health organizations, and academia.