U.S – The Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) has in its 2021 State Food Safety Resource Survey highlighted that 1,262,668 inspections, 37,731 compliance actions and 355,772 laboratory analyses were undertaken by state food safety regulatory programs.
The survey looked at inspection work done by state food safety regulatory programs which ensure the safety of the food supply in the areas of manufactured food, retail food, milk, produce, meat/poultry, and shellfish.
AFDO periodically conducts a resource survey of state human and animal food regulatory programs over a 12-month period, to collect important data that can be used to reinforce what a critical role state food safety programs play in the national regulatory scheme. This year AFDO broke the survey out into components and distributed them based on commodity or facility types, in an effort to focus more directly on each segment of the food safety regulatory system.
Due to disruptions that may have occurred due to COVID-19, the survey looked at work completed during the 2019 calendar year versus 2020 citing that inspection related data associated with this year may not be representative of normal operations for most programs.
States embargoed 1,604,817 pounds of adulterated food worth an estimated US$31,383,272. They inspected 31,207 milk producers 69,665 times during 2019 and investigated 106 of 111 consumer complaints about Grade A milk products. Further, they performed 18 traceback investigations and 28 investigations overall involving Grade A milk. Firms under their jurisdictions were involved in 152 recalls.
While most meat and poultry inspection is federally regulated, the states have a share too. The states performed 129,950 reviews of meat and poultry and related establishments. The states are responsible for 739 of small slaughterhouses, which received most of the attention.
The survey has greatly helped AFDO in its representation of state food safety programs during testimony in the nation’s capital, while assessing proposed legislation for federal food safety, and providing information to federal legislators and their staff members who are actively pursuing this legislation.
According to Joseph Corby, AFDO Executive Director, the results clearly demonstrate the critical importance of including the enormous food safety efforts of state and local government into a national food safety system.
“State food safety programs provide a critical service for the public by ensuring the safety of the foods consumers eat. Regulators are continually working with the industry to control factors that may lead to food contamination or foodborne illness. This survey illustrates the need these resources address,” says Natalie Adan, AFDO president.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performs 3,500 human food inspections annually along with another 4,000 completed under contract by states, the states themselves are completing more than 41,000 additional inspections in these food manufacturing facilities, far more frequently than federal oversight, the survey showed.
“The extensive work accomplished by states in manufactured food highlights how key these state programs are to regulatory oversight in these facilities. If this oversight were absent, many more food emergencies, outbreaks, and recalls would result,” notes Steven Mandernach, executive director of AFDO.