News Feature | July 18, 2014

4 New Technologies Benefiting The Food Processing Industry

Source: Food Online

By Laurel Maloy, contributing writer, Food Online

In the interest of food safety, FSIS is fast-tracking new technologies for use and sharing the information with the entire food processing industry

FSIS defines new technology as a new application of an existing method or as a new piece of equipment, procedure, or substance involving the slaughter of livestock, meat processing, and egg products. Examples of new technologies include antimicrobials and steam pasteurization, both of which are innovative improvements to food safety.

How Is FSMA Impacting Food Manufacturing?

In the interest of public safety and industry-wide awareness, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has made public a New Technology Information Table. These are new technologies that are fast-tracked through the agency’s regulatory requirements, making them available for immediate use. In a very un-governmental move, FSIS recognizes the advantage of allowing new technologies to emerge and be utilized now in its continuing effort to prevent foodborne illness. Therefore, the agency may waive the regulation by announcing its intent to initiate rulemaking in order to amend its written regulations. The new technologies in this table have been reviewed by FSIS and found to have merit.  In other words, FSIS does not object to their use; these technologies are in use now, not years from now, when the paperwork is finally done.

Examples of the newest additions to the table include, but are not limited to:

  • A carbon monoxide solution used to modify packaging for retail cuts of meat
  • Chlorine Dioxide used as an antimicrobial agent in water utilized in poultry processing
  • A water-based mixture used for cooling, rinsing, storing, or washing cut or whole meats, including hide-on carcasses
  • Tomato lycopene extract utilized as a coloring agent in Ready-to-Eat (RTE) meat products

The New Technology Information Table provides a short synopsis of the protocol, new equipment, or new application. It also provides FSIS regulatory waiver and the company from which the new technology or methodology is available. This enables food processors to research the technology, talk to the manufacturer, seek technical information, research costs, and seek peer reviews of the emerging technology.  The table also indicates the most recent additions, with a yellow-highlighted asterisk, to facilitate users being able to quickly assess the newest information.

Improving The Safety Of Pumped Food Products

FSIS will update the list monthly. The new technologies not requiring an amendment to the regulation will remain on the list for a period of 12 months after they are first published. Those new technologies requiring a change to the regulation will stay on the list until the regulation has been amended.

Any facility wanting to use one of the new technologies can direct a request through askFSIS or contact the Risk, Innovations, and Management Division, residing under the umbrella of the Office of Policy and Program Development (OPPD).  This department has the authority for advancing all enforcement-related policy for the FSIS, internationally and domestically.