Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a Federal Register Notice to formally announce a three-day public meeting to discuss the safety of foods sold online and delivered directly to consumers.
The FDA New Era of Smarter Food Safety Summit on E-Commerce: Ensuring the Safety of Foods Ordered Online and Delivered Directly to Consumers will take place virtually October 19-21, 2021. The summit is designed to help the agency improve its understanding of how human and animal foods are sold through Business to Consumer (or B2C for short) e-commerce models across the U.S. and globally.
Because of the increasing number of consumers ordering their foods online, convening this summit is a goal set in FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint. The number of consumers ordering food online has been steadily increasing over the years, but it has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to reports of consumer buying patterns. The blueprint goal is to convene a summit to identify courses of action to address potential food safety vulnerabilities, including those that may arise in the “last mile” of delivery.
The FDA intends to use what we learn during the public meeting, and from comments submitted to the Federal Register, to help determine what actions, if any, may be needed to keep consumers safe.
The summit is an opportunity for FDA to further our collaboration on food safety with our federal, state, local, and tribal regulatory partners, and a broad array of stakeholders, including industry, consumers, consumer and public health organizations, and academia.
Topics for discussion during the summit include:
- Types of B2C e-commerce models (e.g., produce and meal kit subscription services, ghost kitchens, dark stores)
- Safety risks associated with foods sold through B2C e-commerce
- Standards of care used by industry to control these safety risks
- Types of delivery models (e.g., third-party delivery, autonomous delivery models)
- Regulatory approaches to food sold through B2C e-commerce, including challenges and gaps that need to be addressed
- Labeling of foods sold through B2C e-commerce
During the three-day event, there will be opportunities for public comment each day. Participants who wish to speak during the public comment sessions must register as indicated in the Federal Register Notice by October 8, 2021. In addition, FDA will open a public docket to receive additional comments about these topics. Public comments can be submitted electronically to www.regulations.gov using Docket ID: FDA-2021-N-0929 now through November 20, 2021.
There is no cost to attend the summit, but registration is required. Register for this event online. Registered participants will receive details on how and when to view the summit online. For questions about this event, contact Juanita Yates, FDA, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, e-mail: Juanita.Yates@fda.hhs.gov.