Tracing the Food Safety Laws and Regulations Governing Traceability: A Brief History of Food Safety and Traceability Regulation

  • Shawn K. StevensEmail author
Part of the Food Microbiology and Food Safety book series (FMFS)


Laws and regulations related to food safety, including traceability, have evolved substantially over the last 100 years. Although both the USDA FSIS- and FDA-regulated food industries are already subject to traceability requirements, the agencies still struggle to rapidly and effectively conduct traceback investigations. As a result, the agencies are pressing forward to strengthen the existing rules, regulations, and policies governing traceability. On the USDA FSIS side of the fence, the agency has enacted more stringent recordkeeping requirements for beef ground at retail and is beginning traceback investigations into the original source of pathogens when they are discovered in ground beef products more rapidly and with less data than ever before. On the FDA side of the fence, the agency has been authorized by Congress to create enhanced recordkeeping requirements to better trace high risk foods. Moving forward, it remains to be seen whether these new initiatives will in fact enhance the overall traceability of food products. Although in some ways the new requirements may result in some improvements, significant challenges may continue to persist. In this regard, to the extent any hindrances to traceability ultimately continue, they may be related less to the rules on the books, as opposed to the inherent difficulties in enforcing them across an extremely diverse industry, and a persistent lack of any globally harmonized requirements.


Law Regulation Liability Bioterrorism Act Federal meat inspection Act FDA USDA Regulatory requirements Recordkeeping Food safety modernization Act 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Food Industry Counsel, LLCMilwaukeeUSA

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