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  1. FDA Grand Rounds

Webcast | Virtual

Event Title
Closer to Zero
December 9, 2021


December 9, 2021


About the Speaker

Conrad Choiniere, PhD
Office of Analytics and Outreach(OAO)
Center for Food Safety and Nutrition (CFSAN)

Conrad Choiniere, PhD, is the Director of the Office of Analytics and Outreach at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). Dr. Choiniere provides executive leadership for a broad portfolio of scientific and regulatory functions including risk and decision analysis, social and behavioral sciences, epidemiology, biostatistics and informatics, education and outreach, and food defense. Dr. Choiniere currently co-leads a core element of FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety focused on fostering and supporting Food Safety Culture across the food system. He also chairs the FDA’s Toxic Elements Working Group which prioritizes the agency’s efforts to reduce exposures to lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals from foods to the greatest extent feasible. Dr. Choiniere has a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

About the Presentation

The FDA’s Closer to Zero initiative is the agency’s action plan for reducing exposure to toxic elements, including lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury, in foods for babies and young children. Closer to Zero utilizes a multi-phase, science-based, iterative approach for achieving continual improvements over time, laying out plans to further reduce the levels of toxic elements in foods. The plan includes advancing research, the evaluation of changes in dietary exposures to toxic elements, setting action levels, encouraging adoption of best practices by industry, increasing targeted compliance and enforcement activities, and monitoring progress of levels over time.

Learning Objectives

After completion of this activity, the participant will be able to:

  • Discuss why lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury are present in foods.
  • Explain the challenges of reducing the presence of the contaminants in foods.
  • Identify the difference between a reference level of exposure to a contaminant and an action level for a contaminant in foods.
  • Examine various activities that the FDA participates in to support the Closer to Zero initiative.

Webcast Recording

Event Materials

Title File Type/Size
Activity Outline FDA Grand Rounds: December 9, 2021 pdf (149.62 KB)
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