- October 19 - 21, 2021
The FDA New Era of Smarter Food Safety Summit on E-Commerce: Ensuring the Safety of Foods Ordered Online and Delivered Directly to Consumers took 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 learned 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 was 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 included:
- 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 were opportunities for public comment each day. In addition, FDA opened a public docket to receive additional comments about these topics. Comments submitted electronically can be viewed in Docket FDA-2021-N-0929 on Regulations.gov.