ABA’s Food Technical Regulatory Affairs Committee made progress on forming consensus and developing action plans on a variety of critical issues impacting the industry during their recent two day meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
FTRAC finalized positions on the FSMA reproposals for human food preventive controls and foreign supplier verification. Comments will be specifically focused on impact and application to bakery facilities when they are submitted in mid-December. Additionally, the Committee strategized on additional educational source and feedback to FDA on fiber sources used by industry as part of the nutrition facts panel proposal. The committee also wants to explore opportunities to enhance bakery sector representation in the USDA nutritional database.
“I have never seen a time when we were facing so many issues with the potential for major economic impact on the industry. And to compound the risk, the other groups representing industry are not responding in proportion to the severity of the issues, but ABA is,” said FTRAC Chair Len Heflich, Vice President, Global Food Safety, Quality and Crisis Management, Grupo Bimbo.
There were a number of timely presentations: Jim Huang, Director of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, Bemis Company, Inc., led a discussion on the need for open and consistent communications on safety assurance involved in the regulatory process for food contact substances. Dr. Kantha Channaiah, AIBI Director of Microbiology, provided an update on the Validation of Baking as a Kill Step Project. Christine Cochran, Grain Foods Foundation Executive Director, led an interactive discussion with FTRAC on Grain Foods Foundation research and resource activities. Laura Pasut, Msc, MBA, RD, Director, Food and Nutrition Policy for the Baking Association of Canada, provided an update on recent activities by the Government of Canada impacting food safety procedures and food labeling. Lastly, Dr. Byung-Kee Baik, Lead Scientist, USDA Agricultural Research Service Wooster, Ohio Wheat Quality Laboratory, discussed soft wheat research advanced at his lab.
“The challenges and issues facing our industry in the form of regulations and litigation are tremendous and overwhelming as evidenced by the large turnout at the FTRAC meeting– one of our largest meetings in recent years,” said Vice Chair Valerie Wayland, Director, Regulatory Affairs, Flowers Foods, Inc.
A key highlight of the meeting was a visit to the Bundy Baking Museum in Urbana, Ohio. “Bundy generously sponsored the FTRAC meeting and provided tours of their amazing museum as well as their impressive pan and mixer plants. The entire committee was overwhelmed by the remarkable repository of history and technology.
The next FTRAC meeting will be held in Washington, D.C., on February 3-4, 2015. For more information, please contact Lee Sanders, ABA Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs at email@example.com or at 202-789-0300.