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Morgan Lewis partners recently published an article in the Institute of Food Technologist’s Food Technology magazine on the future of obesity-related litigation. The article discusses how companies can maximize their insurance assets, use federal regulations proactively, and refocus compliance programs to improve their position against possible lawsuits. Read the full article here.

New regulations for poultry inspection from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) may end its long, acrimonious struggle to modernize the existing status quo. Given the competing interests surrounding the initiative, compromise was inevitable—and compromise is precisely what everyone got. As previously proposed, the rule would have mandated universal changes in the inspection system. The proposed rule directed all poultry slaughterers to initially examine and screen birds for cosmetic and other nonsafety-related defects—traditionally the role of USDA inspectors—and maintained the core government responsibility to identify problems associated with animal disease and other forms of product contamination. This system has been in effect—and successful—on a voluntary basis for more than a decade within the context of so-called pilot programs.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently proposed a rule that, if adopted, will require both processing establishments and retail facilities that grind raw beef products to maintain records in a newly prescribed format. That format will delineate source materials and the identity of suppliers as well as any carryover from one production lot to the next. Our FDA Practice discussed the details and implications of the rule, which was proposed in July, in a Food Industry LawFlash.

The proposed rule represents a significant new recordkeeping requirement at the retail/grocery level and should be examined closely by such businesses. Submitted comments to FSIS detailing potential recordkeeping burdens and logistical concerns will be important to ensure that the proposal balances practical considerations with the intended food-safety goals.