News Releases

Date: 7/5/2010

Title: FSIS, FDA, and CDC Announce Joint Food Safety Public Meetings

WASHINGTON - In a statement released last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week took another step in the agencies' collaborative efforts to measure progress in reducing illness, harm, and death from contaminated food by announcing two joint public meetings to hear stakeholder presentations on measuring progress on food safety. The two meetings are being held in Chicago, Ill., on July 21, and in Portland, Ore., on October 20.

The public meetings announced are extensions of the initial one-day public workshop held on March 30, 2010, where FSIS, FDA, and CDC discussed their collaborations on the methodological and data challenges involved in the development of feasible and effective food safety metrics. The agencies have been collaborating to reduce foodborne illness as part of the Food Safety Working Group, which has recommended a public health-focused approach to food safety based on the principles of prioritizing prevention, strengthening surveillance and enforcement, and improving response and recovery.

At the two public meetings, the agencies will hear presentations from any interested stakeholder, including members of consumer groups, industry, public health experts, and state and local regulators on the measurements they recommend or are using to assess performance in food safety. The agencies will present information on the Food Safety Working Group's charge to create meaningful metrics to measure the effectiveness of the nation's food safety system.

Documents and agenda items related to the two regional public meetings will be accessible prior to the public meetings on the FSIS webpage

"Measuring progress in reducing the risk of foodborne illness is an important part of our food safety strategy. It's how we know what's working and helps us learn from experience," said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor in a statement. "The methods and data needs are challenging, which is why we are working closely with the food safety community to find the most effective and feasible measures of progress."

"What doesn't get measured doesn't get done," said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Jerold R. Mande. "To meet the president's food safety goals, we need clear, effective measures of food safety so that government and industry can be held accountable by the public."

"These public meetings are an excellent opportunity for those who want to learn more about food safety and foodborne disease detection in this country from the federal agencies who work closely with state and local officials on this important work," said Christopher Braden, director of the proposed Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases at CDC. "I expect that CDC and its partners will benefit from a variety of useful suggestions on how to do our jobs better."

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