FDA Takeaways on E-Commerce and Food Safety Summit
As previously reported, on October 19-21, 2021 FDA hosted a three-day virtual summit to discuss the safety of foods sold online and delivered directly to consumers. A recording of the meeting and event materials are available on the summit site. FDA indicated that approximately 4,100 people registered for the virtual summit. FDA heard from “heavy hitters” in the food delivery world— including Amazon, Blue Apron, Grubhub, Instacart, Kroger, and Wendy’s— regarding controls and innovations that they use to maintain food safety.
Discussions included the topic of “ghost kitchens” and the necessity for food safety measures that include food handler training and consumer education. International regulatory parties also discussed their own experiences in this area and noted the lack of consistent standards between nations in this area. FDA learned that populations across all ages and economic divides order food online. FDA noted that the issue is not unique to the United States and that, in fact, China’s food delivery apps have the largest market penetration with the United States coming in second.
FDA will consider the discussions from the meeting to tackle questions regarding the appropriate time and temperature controls to ensure food safety and how to safeguard against cross-contamination between ready-to-eat and raw foods. Public comments may be submitted electronically to regulations.gov under Docket FDA-2021-N-0929 and will be accepted until November 20, 2021.