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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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International Activities - CVM Participates in Four-Country Food Safety Meeting

FDA Veterinarian Newsletter May/June 2004 Volume XIX, No 3

The issues of food safety and animal health are not limited to any one country, and some of the issues do not lend themselves to being addressed in a strictly formal regulatory manner. In that spirit, four countries have been meeting for the past 13 years routinely to discuss mutual food safety and animal health concerns.

The meetings involve four principal countries—the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand—so the meetings are formally known as the Quadrilaterals, but more commonly referred to as the “Food Safety Quads” and the “Animal Health Quads.”

The most recent “Quads” meeting was held April 19-22 in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was hosted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada.

The purpose of these annual meetings is to provide a forum for officials responsible for food safety, regulation and standards to discuss and collaborate on issues of mutual interest, thereby fostering understanding and agreement among the quadrilateral countries with the goal to enhance public health as it relates to food safety.

For the past several years, the participants attending the meeting to discuss animal health have devoted one full day to a joint meeting with those addressing food safety, because the issues align in many ways.

Topics discussed during the joint animal health/food safety session included national food safety and security strategies, outcome-based food safety standards, risk-based inspection, emerging microbiological and chemical issues, BSE, animal feed, antimicrobial resistance, and transgenic animals/cloning.

CVM Deputy Director Dr. Tollefson participated with other Food and Drug Administration staff from the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the Office of Regulatory Affairs, and the Office of the Commissioner. Also attending the meeting were representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The meetings generate a list of action items of mutual concern to all four countries. The countries work on the action items during the year between meetings.