FDA Announces New Resource on Sampling

Constituent Update

November 23, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is announcing a new web resource to share more information about its sampling programs for food safety and has posted new information on a more robust surveillance sampling approach under development. In addition, the FDA is announcing that for fiscal year 2016, the Agency will sample and test cucumbers and hot peppers under this program. The FDA will publish information regarding test results on the web, including total number of samples collected/tested, and collection date, sample type, and pathogen detected for positive samples.

The FDA began developing a new, more robust surveillance sampling approach in 2014. During the first year, the FDA focused on sprouts, whole fresh avocados and raw milk cheese (aged 60 days). The FDA will release data on the recently completed surveillance sampling in the future. The goals of the surveillance sampling are to keep contaminated products from reaching consumers and to facilitate a greater understanding of hazards.

Preventing problems before they happen, rather than solely responding to outbreaks of foodborne illness, lies at the heart of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. To develop prevention-based systems, the agency and affected industries need data and other information to help identify hazards that need to be addressed to prevent contamination.

This approach to microbiological surveillance sampling involves collecting a statistically determined number of samples of targeted foods over 12 to 18 months to ensure a statistically valid amount of data is available for decision making. Collecting a larger number of samples allows the FDA to assess the prevalence of pathogens and to determine if there are any common factors among the positive findings such as season, region, or whether the product was produced domestically or is imported.

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Page Last Updated: 11/23/2015
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