Tag Archives: food safety

FDA Seeks to Transform Food Safety System, Invest in Medical Product Safety, Regulatory Science

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requesting $4.03 billion to promote and protect public health as part of the President’s fiscal year 2011 budget – a 23 percent increase over the agency’s current $3.28 billion budget.

The FY 2011 request includes increases of $146 million in budget authority and $601 million in industry user fees.

“The FY 2011 resources will strengthen our ability to act as a strong and smart regulator, protecting Americans through every stage of life, many times each day,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “This budget supports the ability for patients and families to realize the benefits of science that are yielding revolutionary advances in the life and biomedical sciences.”

The budget request reflects the FDA’s resolve to transform food safety practices, improve medical product safety, protect patients and modernize FDA regulatory science to advance public health. Funding in the FY 2011 request also supports new regulatory authority to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products received in June 2009. The proposed budget includes support for the FDA’s investment in addressing the challenges of the 21st century. The FDA envisions a transformed U.S. food safety system that focuses on prevention, increased efforts to address medical product safety challenges and a focus on modernizing regulatory science at the FDA.

One of the four initiatives highlighted in the FY2011 budget increase is a $318 million request for Transforming Food Safety. This initiative reflects President Obama’s vision of a new food safety system to protect the American public. The FDA will set standards for safety, expand laboratory capacity, pilot track and trace technology, strengthen its import safety program, improve data collection and risk analysis and begin to establish an integrated national food safety system with strengthened inspection and response capacity.

You can read more about the proposal here.

Obama 2011 budget request: Food and Drug Administration – Washington Post

Pollan: Court ruling may impact food safety

At the Food Safety Network website, writer Helena Bottemiller in the article “Pollan: Ruling not good for food safety” notes that Michael Pollan has warned about the implications the Supreme Court’s decision to allow unrestricted campaign contributions to political campaigns could have for food safety.

Hagen Named USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety

Dr. Elisabeth Hagen has been nominated as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Under Secretary for Food Safety. Hagen will serve with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“There is no more fundamental function of government than protecting consumers from harm, which is why food safety is one of USDA’s top priorities,” said Vilsack. “We can and must do a better job of ensuring the safety of meat and poultry products regulated by USDA, and Dr. Hagen brings the background, skills, and vision to lead USDA’s efforts to make sure that Americans have access to a safe and healthy food supply.”

Dr. Elisabeth Hagen is currently the USDA’s Chief Medical Officer, serving as an advisor to USDA mission areas on a wide range of human health issues. Prior to her current post, she was a senior executive at FSIS, where she played a key role in developing and executing the agency’s scientific and public health agendas. She has been instrumental in building relationships and fostering coordination with food safety and public health partners at the federal, state, and local level.

Before joining the federal government in 2006, Hagen taught and practiced medicine in both the private and academic sectors, most recently in Washington, DC. She holds an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and a B.S. from Saint Joseph’s University. Dr. Hagen completed her specialty medical training at the University of Texas Southwestern and the University of Pennsylvania, and is board certified in infectious disease. She is married and lives with her husband and two young children in Northern Virginia.

New Report Recommends Enhanced Food Tracing Guidelines

The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) released a report from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), which recommends clear objectives be set for all users of a simpler, globally accepted food supply chain that can benefit from existing commercial systems.

CFSAN commissioned the IFT report in 2008 as part of the agency’s ongoing examination of food product tracing practices, and its commitment to improve the ability of government and industry to trace commercially distributed food products potentially of risk to U.S. consumers.  The IFT is a nonprofit scientific society focusing on the science of food.

Food can become contaminated at many different steps in the supply chain. Experience in conducting foodborne disease outbreak investigations suggests that improved product tracing abilities could help identify products associated with disease more quickly, get risky products off the market faster, and reduce the number of illnesses associated with foodborne illness outbreaks.

The IFT report is part of the public record that FDA will consider in determining ways to improve the ability of government and industry to trace food products throughout all stages of the supply chain.

To view the IFT recommendations, please visit ift.org/traceability Exit Disclaimer

Food Safety Issues for the Farmer

The Farmers Market Coalition newsletter in the article “What does food safety look like on the ground?” notes that Full Circle Organic Farm in Fulton County, Virginia distributes produce through CSA and farmers market.

Campus farmers markets sprout new roots – Farmers Market Coalition newsletter

NCDA redesigns food safety website

The Food and Drug Protection Division at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture has created three new ways for NC consumers to find answers to their food safety questions.

A newly redesigned “Got to be NC Food Safety” Web site, www.ncfoodsafety.com, provides food safety information, laws and news for consumers, retailers, producers and educators. The site also features a “Food for Thought” section with statistics and trivia for children and families.

In addition, a new toll-free number and e-mail address will provide North Carolina residents with more in-depth responses to their food safety questions. Consumers can call 877-366-3644 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or e-mail ncfoodsafe@ncagr.gov.

“This new site is an additional resource for North Carolinians to learn about ways to prevent food-related illnesses,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Foodborne illnesses cost the nation $6.9 billion annually, so we also have a strong financial interest in ensuring the safety of our food supply. Each person from the farm to fork has a role to play in food safety.”

These tools serve as supplements to the department’s other food safety outreach programs, including the annual Food Safety Forum and educational seminars for food businesses.

The NCDA&CS also partners with federal, state and local agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, N.C. State University and North Carolina’s 86 local health departments.

Commissioner Hamburg talks food safety with Senate committee

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. spoke before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions about food safety today.

Here is her testimony.

USDA Joins FDA Efforts on New Food Safety Regulations

USDA’s fresh produce chief will join FDA to help develop new food safety rules, as part of a cooperative initiative between FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The announcement comes amid beefed up outreach efforts with key agriculture and safe food stakeholders to better share and exchange produce safety “best practices” and ideas.

Leanne Skelton, chief of the Fresh Products Branch of the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS), has extensive experience working with the fruit and vegetable industry. Skelton has been with the Fresh Products Branch at AMS for more than 22 years, working in inspections, grading and certification, standardization, training, and managing the Branch’s financial and information technology activities. Skelton will be on detail with the FDA for six months as she helps the FDA develop new safety regulations for produce.

“President Obama, like most Americans, wants immediate improvements in our food safety system,” said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “As such, we are pulling together all our best resources -state and federal – to improve the safety of our foods and to work with growers protect and promote the health of our nation.”

“USDA is committed to working with our partners to ensure that Americans have access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  “Today’s announcement is another example the Obama Administration’s innovative and aggressive effort to strengthen protections against unsafe food and food-borne illness.”

Through the initiative, FDA is gathering information and seeking feedback from the fresh produce industry, including small and organic farmers, on the impact such rules may have on their businesses and lives. In addition, USDA and FDA officials have been traveling together to meet with farmers and local food safety officials. Most recently, FDA and USDA visited farms in North Carolina and will soon visit Florida.

Merrigan discusses food safety

Food Safety News writer Helena Bottemiller in the article “Merrigan: No one is exempt from food safety” writes that Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan addressed food safety concerns last week in the first online event for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food’ initiative to support local food.

Co-op Extension focuses on food safety

NC State University Co-operative Extension in its Online News reports “Extension initiative focuses on year-round fresh produce safety.” September is Food Safety Month, and North Carolina Cooperative Extension, in cooperation with the N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force, is leading an initiative to educate fruit and vegetable growers and consumers about measures that can minimize food safety risks.