November 5, 2009
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today announced a joint public meeting focused on improving the system for tracing human and animal food products and ingredients that are causing illness outbreaks or presenting other risks to the health of consumers or animals.
The purpose of the meeting is to obtain public input in identifying elements of effective food product tracing systems; specifying gaps in the current food product tracing methods; and finding specific mechanisms for improvement. This information will help FDA and FSIS determine appropriate steps to enhance the current tracing system for food products.
FSIS has statutory authority over meat, meat food products, poultry, poultry products, and egg products. FDA has authority over all human foods not under FSIS' jurisdiction, and animal foods. Both agencies investigate food-borne illness outbreaks and other food-borne risks associated with the products they regulate. These investigations, conducted in close cooperation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments, often involve tracing backward or forward in the supply chain the distribution of food products and ingredients associated with risk to consumer or animal health.
Experience in conducting food-borne disease outbreak investigations clearly shows that improved product tracing abilities can help identify products associated with disease more quickly, get risky products off the market faster, and lower the risks to public health by reducing the numbers of sicknesses associated with food-borne illness outbreaks. Both agencies believe that this meeting is an important step in achieving those improvements.
The meeting will be held December 9-10, 2009 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Jefferson Auditorium at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (South Building), 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250.
Those interested in attending the public meeting can pre-register online at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events. Online pre-registration is preferred, but pre-registration can also be done by faxing registration information (including name, title, firm name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and fax number) to 1-877-366-3322 by December 2, 2009.
FSIS and FDA will also be accepting electronic or written public comments on issues and questions described in the Federal Register notice. Comments may be submitted to Docket No. FDA-2009-N-0523, by the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov
- Mail/Hand delivery/Courier: Division of Dockets Management (HFA–305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.
Press Release: FDA and FSIS Collaborate To Improve Tracing of Unsafe Food Products November 5, 2009