FDA Holds Webinar on The First 100 Days: New Era of Smarter Food Safety
On October 26, 2020, the FDA held a webinar in which it discussed its progress in implementing the blueprint for the New Era of Smarter Food Safety and its vision for the path forward. The webinar focused on the four Core Elements of the blueprint with leaders of the teams assigned to each Core Element addressing their respective contributions and visions. Additionally, Frank Yiannas, the Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response at the FDA, delivered the opening and closing remarks in which he discussed the need to build upon the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and leverage new technologies to improve food safety and adapt to changes in the industry. He stressed that while the FDA was leading the charge, it was a collaborative effort that could not be done without the assistance of a wide variety of stakeholders, and that the FDA was committed to transparency throughout the process.
Kari Irvin, Deputy Director of the Office of Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation, in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) addressing Core Element 1: Tech Traceability, discussed the importance of creating a foundational language in this space. She stated that the Proposed Rule for Food Traceability is an effort to establish the common language and encouraged all stakeholders to comment on the proposed rule and participate in the coming public meetings on the proposed rule. Comments on this proposed rule are due on January 21, 2021. She further stated that the FDA is not looking at any single technology and stated that one goal of creating a common language is to allow multiple systems to operate together.
Mark Moorman, Director of the Office of Food Safety, CFSAN, addressing Core Element 2: Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention and Outbreak Response, emphasized the importance of information sharing, both within industry and government, in order to learn from adverse effects. In particular, he discussed the importance of data analysis to predict future outbreaks, the need to conduct root cause analysis of outbreaks, and the importance of clear communication to consumers.
Andreas Keller, director, Multi-Commodity Foods, Office of Food Safety, CFSAN, addressing Core Element 3: New Business Models and Retail Modernization, discussed the FDA’s efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of retail food regulatory programs, encourage the development and implementation of new systems and technologies to promote food safety, and study the impact of changing consumer behaviors, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conrad Choiniere, Director, Office of Analytics and Outreach, CFSAN, addressing Core Element 4: Food Safety Culture, stated that the blueprint seeks to develop a food safety culture within the FDA and among industry and consumers. Furthermore, he stated that the FDA’s role is not to mandate a predetermined food safety culture, but rather to study the issues and provide advice so that industry, and other stakeholders, can each develop their own unique food safety culture tailored their particular needs. He also noted that the Global Food Safety Initiative (GSFI) food culture safety standard is among the sources of information that the FDA was considering in developing its approach.