On November 23, 2015, the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) announced its new proactive and preventive approach to sampling.

SAFEGUARDS | Food NO. 200/15

[1] This approach, targeting an item for 12 to 18 months in order to develop data to prevent future illness, is part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) program. The US FDA will use the information acquired to determine trends and specific regions/locations that may cause issues, to develop new or enhance industry guidance, to work with its international regulatory partners to take corrective actions, and to follow-up on facilities or operation types that require more intensive inspections.

The US FDA uses three types of sampling:

  • Product sampling
  • Environmental sampling
  • Emergency response/emerging issues sampling

In its informational bulletin, the US FDA has provided details of the process used when a US FDA investigator collects samples and what operations need to do during the process.

For the Fiscal year of 2016, the US FDA has notified the industry that it will be sampling cucumbers and hot peppers for pathogen testing, [2] for Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7. Starting this month, the US FDA will collect about 1,600 samples of each item, including some 320 to 380 domestic samples and some 1,200 to 1,280 import samples.

Prior sampling programs have been for sprouts, whole fresh avocados and raw milk cheese that were aged less than 60 days.

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