Food Safety :: FDA announces program to enhance US’ Food Safety Programs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched a national program to bring about the adoption of more uniform, equivalent, and high quality regulatory programs by state agencies responsible for regulating facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food under FDA?s jurisdiction.

?This risk-based program represents a significant step in further integrating our food safety system,? said Margaret O?K. Glavin, FDA?s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. ?We realize it will be several years before it?s fully implemented, but we?re confident this program will bring great benefits to the public health.?

Currently, programmatic activities can vary from state to state and such variations can lead to inconsistencies in oversight of food safety. Adoption of voluntary standards for state regulatory programs will establish a uniform basis for measuring and improving the performance of state programs for regulating manufactured food and help the state and federal authorities reduce foodborne illness hazards in food facilities.

The Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards are the result of five years of intensive cooperative effort by federal and state regulators. The standards define best practices for the critical elements of state regulatory programs designed to protect the public from foodborne illness and injury, including:

the program?s regulatory foundation;
staff training;
quality assurance;
food defense preparedness and response;
foodborne illness and incident investigation;
education and outreach;
resource management;
laboratory resources; and
program assessment.

Each standard has corresponding self-assessment worksheets. Several standards have supplemental worksheets and forms to assist state regulators in determining whether their state program addresses all of the elements in the standards.

The Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards have been approved by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and will be pilot-tested in New York, Oregon, and Missouri before September 30, 2007.

FDA regulates about 80 percent of the food supply, which includes food for humans and animals, except meat products, poultry products, and egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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