On June 18, 2013 the FDA released the Science and Research Strategic Plan (CSR) developed by the Center for Foods Safety and Applied Nutrition, (CFSAN). http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceResearch/ResearchStrategicPlan/default.htm
Identifying five strategic goals with the greatest impact on modernizing our nation’s food safety system and protecting public health, the CSR plan also identifies designated outcomes to support these goals. Three of the five strategic goals relate directly to improving current analytical practices and methodology:
- Better control and prepare for hazards
- Create faster and validated methods
- Develop leading edge technology for understanding and evaluating scientific information.
The CSR Plan emphasizes prevention and risk-based priority setting, incorporating new responsibilities arising from the “Food Safety and Modernization Act (FMSA)” as well accounting for regulatory responsibilities in light of new trends in the industry including:
- Globalization of the food supply chain
- Changing industry processes The plan notes that the “ever-increasing consumer interest in dietary supplements poses special challenges for ensuring the safety of market products and their supply chain.”
FT-NIR technology is ideal tool for keeping pace with these developments mainly due to its precision, speed and simplicity. Manufacturers are relying more heavily on FT-NIR to verify identity, quality, lot-to-lot consistency and to screen for unexpected chemical contaminants and economically motivated adulterants.
Once validated, FT-NIR methods employ mathematical algorithms to numerically assess if a material passes or fails pre-determined criteria eliminating operator subjectivity. Routine operators are able to collect results in seconds which makes it possible to increase the sampling population. Rather than take one sample to a lab; manufacturers can screen every drum, especially important for materials that have large lot-to-lot variation.