Enhanced Partnerships Critical for Transformation of Food Safety System
About 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a significant public health burden that is largely preventable.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 4, enables FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. The FSMA builds a formal system of collaboration with other government agencies, both domestic and foreign. In doing so, the statute explicitly recognizes that all food safety agencies need to work together in an integrated way to achieve our public health goals.
Building a new food safety system based on prevention will take time, and FDA is creating a process for getting this work done. Congress has established specific implementation dates in the legislation. The funding the Agency gets each year, which affects staffing and vital operations, will affect how quickly FDA can put this legislation into effect. FDA is committed to implementing the requirements through an open process with opportunity for input from all stakeholders.
The following are examples of enhanced collaboration:
- State and local capacity building: FDA must develop and implement strategies to leverage and enhance the food safety and defense capacities of State and local agencies. The FSMA provides FDA with a new multi-year grant mechanism to facilitate investment in State capacity to more efficiently achieve national food safety goals.
- Foreign capacity building: The law directs FDA to develop a comprehensive plan to expand the capacity of foreign governments and their industries. One component of the plan is to address training of foreign governments and food producers on U.S. food safety requirements.
- Reliance on inspections by other agencies: FDA is explicitly authorized to rely on inspections of other Federal, State and local agencies to meet its increased inspection mandate for domestic facilities. The FSMA also allows FDA to enter into interagency agreements to leverage resources with respect to the inspection of seafood facilities, both domestic and foreign, as well as seafood imports.
Additional partnerships are required to develop and implement a national agriculture and food defense strategy, to establish an integrated consortium of laboratory networks, and to improve foodborne illness surveillance.
Full Text of the Law Relating to Enhanced Partnerships
- SEC 110. Building domestic capacity
- SEC 209. Improving the training of State, local, territorial, and tribal food safety officials
- Improving Food Safety and Defense Capacity of State and Local Level, Review of State and Local Capacities
Request for Comments
Memorandum of Understanding Related to Federal/State Integration
On July 1, FDA and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), entered into an agreement to collaborate on the establishment of a competitive grant program for food safety training, and other projects, as part of a Memorandum of Understanding with USDA’s Research, Education and Economics Agencies.
Assisting the Integrated Food Safety System's National Food/Feed Training Program
- On September 16, 2011, The Office of Acquisition and Grants (OAGs) issued grants at various funding levels to seven institutions for FDA/ORA Division of Human Resource Development. The primary focus of the awardees/FDA collaborative venture is to design, develop and disseminate food/feed safety training programs that are consistent with the Manufactured and Retail Food Standards, as well as 3rd party criteria for accreditation. More >