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National Integrated Food Safety System (IFSS) Programs and Initiatives

Integrated Food Safety System (IFSS)


In 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) mandated the development of strategies to enhance food safety, that align with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) efforts to create and execute processes towards achieving a national integrated food safety system (IFSS). FSMA furthered the concept of an IFSS, that was first expressed by the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) in 1997, which resulted from a 50-State workshop that laid the foundation for IFSS efforts for the next decade.

This site provides details including achieved and planned milestones, as well as FDA’s continued efforts to support the IFSS’ principles. While reading this site, it is helpful to keep in mind that the term “system” represents the collection of integrated principles and conditions that advances food safety. 

What is an IFSS?

An Integrated Food Safety System (IFSS) provides the vision, guiding principles and key components of a coordinated approach to food safety. An IFSS describes the continual improvements and collaborative activities of food safety that will be addressed through the implementation of a collection of initiatives, programs and projects.

An IFSS includes the implementation of seamless partnerships and operations among federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal agencies as well as academic, foreign, industry and consumer stakeholders (strategic partners) to achieve the public health mission of realizing a safer food supply. The IFSS encourages interactions and collaborations with strategic partners, as their input and the lessons learned are critical to the advancement of this mission.

An IFSS leverages the participation, coordination, resources, and authorities of all strategic partners to protect the food supply. The seamless operations of an IFSS with our strategic partners will: 

  • Consist of robust, high-quality data integration and analysis systems and information sharing mechanisms among partners
  • Leverage the resources, experience, subject matter expertise, and efforts among partners to create an integrated global food safety network that will achieve the best public health outcome
  • Operate a coordinated and comparable regulatory system of inspection, surveillance, investigation, enforcement, and response
  • Improve response capabilities to foodborne illness outbreaks, recalls, and food emergencies
  • Demonstrate commitment to meeting consumer’s expectations of safe and wholesome foods for purchase and consumption

To address the guiding principles of an IFSS, the FDA manages a collection of initiatives, programs, and projects organized into four main areas: Information and Data Exchange; Operational Support; Regulatory Standards and Policy; and Strategic Partnerships.

These coordinated efforts with our strategic partners bring FDA closer to its regulatory mission of public health protection including reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses. Some key examples include ongoing efforts to:

  • Expand and enhance the planning and prioritizing of work to coordinate resources
  • Use food safety surveillance data to update and evaluate the effectiveness of evidence-based food safety policies and programs
  • Implement efficient, prevention-focused, risk-based inspections and sample collections
  • Create uniform food safety policies that leverage novel technology based on standardized best practices and regulations
  • Promote use of compliance and enforcement tools and joint agency actions, where applicable for achieving comprehensive compliance with food safety laws and regulations
  • Utilize national training and certification programs to attain consistency and competency amongst the IFSS workforce and ensure regulatory and public health activities are being completed to the same standards of proficiency and quality
  • Share the knowledge, data, experience, and processes among government, industry, academia, and consumer groups, when applicable to help achieve the public health goal of a safer food supply
  • Increase traceability and recall effectiveness through improved industry/regulatory communication and collaboration
  • Promote food safety education for consumers 

Major Initiatives, Programs, and Projects

The table below organizes several of the major initiatives, programs and projects that will move us closer to achieving the vision of an integrated food safety system. 

Main Areas

 Major Initiatives, Programs, Projects

Information & Data Exchange – Refers to the sharing of individual or aggregated information and data with a government or private entity

  • National Food Safety Data Exchange (NFSDX)
  • ORA Partners Portal (ORAPP)

Operational Support – Refers to support related to the implementation of efforts designed to advance an integrated food safety system

  • Office of Training Education and Development (OTED)
  • Rapid Response Teams (RRTs)

Regulatory Standards & Policy – Refers to criteria that includes having established standards of practice and regulation of the practice

  • Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS)
  • Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS)

Strategic Partnerships – Refers to focused efforts to promote relationships between food safety stakeholders that is intended to create value for the stakeholders

  • Domestic Mutual Reliance (DMR)
  • Partnership for Food Protection (PFP)
  • System Recognition Arrangement (SRA)

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