FDA Publishes New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint
On July 13, the FDA announced its New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint, which outlines the Agency’s plan to create a safer food system over the next decade. The Blueprint represents achievable goals to enhance traceability, improve predictive analytics, respond more rapidly to outbreaks, address new business models, reduce contamination of food, and foster the development of stronger food safety cultures. The Blueprint builds on the work that FDA has already implemented through FSMA and also outlines a partnership between government, industry, and public health advocates to create a modern approach to food safety.
The Blueprint is centered around four core elements:
Tech-enabled Traceability – FDA wants to utilize new technologies and integrate data streams to identify outbreaks and trace the origin of contaminated food to its source in minutes.
Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention and Outbreak Response – The Blueprint includes plans to strengthen the FDA’s procedures and protocols for conducting root cause analyses that can identify how a food became contaminated and figure out how to help prevent contamination from happening again. The need for greater traceability and predictive analytics is seen in the Agency’s most recent efforts to improve the safety of romaine and other leafy greens.
New Business Models and Retail Modernization – FDA is also examining new business models for the production and delivery of food, while ensuring that those foods continue to be safe for consumers. New business models include novel ways of producing foods and ingredients, such as cell-cultured food products. FDA is also committed to exploring new approaches of food safety that go beyond traditional training and inspection for retail establishments and restaurants.
Food Safety Culture – The Blueprint also focuses on fostering the growth of and strengthening the food safety culture on farms and in food facilities all over the world. For instance, in order to make dramatic reductions in foodborne disease, the Agency believes they must do more to influence and change human behavior, as well as to address how employees think about food safety and educating consumers.
FDA originally intended to publish the Blueprint in March, but was forced to postpone and turn attention to addressing the public health emergency posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as explained by the FDA, the pandemic has made it even more clear that the actions outlined in the Blueprint are essential to protect and promote food safety.