EINNEWS, November 24—Improving the safety of the food supply is not as simple as enacting a new food safety act,the American Academy of Microbiology warns in a new report.

The report was released in advance of the Senate’s debate on the Food Safety Modernization Act, a measure that already has won House approval and is supported by the White House.

But the report from the microbiologists says the food safety problem rests with a range of private issues, most particularly it says food processors are “reluctant…to reform practices,” and that “their aging facilities and poorly designed equipment are ‘obstacles to processing food safely.’

The research also highlights the absence of adequate guidance and the need for the processing sector to take a proactive rather than reactive approach to food safety.

The AMM report doesn’t stop with the processors. “Food safety problems may arise at any stage from food production to consumption: on the farm, at the processing facility, at the retailer, or in the hands of consumers”, the report says.

But the research reveals that some processing conditions can actually make food less safe, increasing levels of pathogens beyond those in the raw food itself.

It notes that the processing industry is seldom pro active, but improves its practices only after a food crisis occurs.

“In recent years, we have seen erosion in research and development efforts at food companies and a reluctance to innovate or reform practices,” the report says.

“Moreover, aging facilities and equipment that lack good sanitary design are obstacles to processing food safely. Too often, low profit margins mean that innovation and repairs are only undertaken after major outbreaks of foodborne illness. Often, capital improvements are not made routinely and systematically, but only in response to emergencies.”

For more food news, visit Food Industry Today (http://food.einnews.com), a food media monitoring service from EIN News.