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Herbalife Supports New Federal Regulations Designed to Raise the Bar on Food Safety

By Andrew Shao, Ph.D., Vice President, Global Government and Regulatory Affairs, Herbalife
September 14, 2016

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in six Americans fall ill as a result of foodborne illness, an unfortunately common yet often preventable health problem. September is National Food Safety Education Month in the United States, putting a spotlight on a public health issue that continues to challenge the food industry.

Keeping the food supply safe for consumers is no easy task, even in developed countries like the United States. That’s why President Barack Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law in 2011.

The law comprehensively addresses every step of ingredient sourcing, product development and manufacturing and contains more than a dozen regulations to date (with more being written by the FDA). FSMA impacts everyone from farmers, to ingredient suppliers, to finished goods manufacturers for both animal and human food products.

 

Sweeping Action

FSMA is a major shift for the food industry. Instead of responding to a food safety crisis, nutrition companies must now take preventive safety steps and fully document the process. FSMA is perhaps the most intense and biggest overhaul of a framework aimed at food safety in history. Under the law, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued or is in the process of developing a range of regulations and guidance documents for the industry.

Preventive Controls

One of the FSMA regulations is due to be enacted this month. Current Good Manufacturing and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food (21 CFR, Part 117), adds to and updates the outdated previous good manufacturing practices (GMP) regulation for foods, which is more than 50 years old. The regulation also requires businesses to have a written food safety plan, regular monitoring, record keeping, education and training. The new regulation is more resource intensive for both the food and feed industries and the FDA as well. The agency requested and received a significant budget increase in the fiscal year 2016 ($104.5 million) in anticipation of implementing the final rules and another increase (~$130 million) is expected in 2017.

Herbalife Commitment to Excellence

As the FDA updates these regulations to address current needs and realities, it’s important for food companies to evolve. Herbalife has invested heavily in our production and supply chain safety. Through our Seed to Feed philosophy, we are taking more manufacturing in house with a focus on the most advanced equipment, technology and talent required to create industry leading nutrition products. Over the last six years, we’ve invested more than $250 million to make our Seed to Feed strategy a cornerstone of Herbalife excellence. A true measure of our commitment to industry-leading quality is the attainment of the ISO International (ISO17025) accreditation of our five quality control laboratories around the world. This accreditation means that Herbalife adheres to strict standards for the technical competency of laboratory scientific personnel, the accuracy of testing methods, the validation of equipment and more. Additionally, NSF’s GMP and GMP for Sport Facility Registration certifies that our two company-owned facilities in the U.S. manufacture product in accordance with applicable standards, maintain continual investment in the latest technologies, and use the latest instrumentation to test all Herbalife24® products made in the U.S.

At Herbalife, we welcome the new FSMA regulations because we believe they will help to raise the bar on the safety of food products in the U.S. Why? As more people consume Herbalife nutrition products, the importance of food safety will only increase. That’s why Herbalife is committed to making safe, effective products that contain the exact ingredients on the label and deliver the benefits specified.

For more information about food safety, check out the official CDC website.

Impact of FSMA

Since its passage in 2011, the sweeping act has resulted in an immense number of changes:

  • The emphasis is on prevention of problems instead of reacting to crises
  • The FDA has new tools to ensure that imported foods meet the same standards as those manufactured in the U.S.
  • The FDA has mandatory recall authority for all food products for the first time
  • The FDA will now prioritize high risk facilities for on-site inspection

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