The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the release of the Foodborne Outbreak Response Improvement Plan, designed to help the FDA and its partners enhance the speed, effectiveness, coordination, and communication of foodborne outbreak investigations.
The FDA said they have collaborated with experts in both the public and private sectors for input on additional ways to strengthen the agency’s outbreak response. Input from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state health officials, industry and consumer foodborne outbreak experts, along with the input of FDA leadership and staff, was key to the development of their new improvement plan.
“The agency also contracted with the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health to assess the FDA’s capacity to support, join, or lead multistate outbreak investigations and to provide recommendations in an independent report, which we are also making public today. This report played an important role in the development of our new plan,” stated Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response, and Stic Harris, D.V.M. director of the FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network.
The Foodborne Outbreak Response Improvement Plan focuses on four specific priority areas in which improvements will have the most impact on outbreaks associated with human food.
“We know that the 21st century has brought new challenges in identifying, investigating, and controlling outbreaks of foodborne disease, but it has also brought new tools to meet those challenges. We also recognize that today’s U.S. food system is large and decentralized, with a broad array of widely distributed products, which we must adapt to help ensure the safety of these products,” said Yiannas and Harris.
“That is why we are taking steps through this improvement plan to evolve our outbreak investigations to meet modern-day needs using the most modern-day tools available. Our investigations must be faster, more streamlined, and more effective to identify, pinpoint and remove contaminated food from the market and identify root-cause factors in the food system to prevent similar outbreaks in the future,” the two FDA leaders added.