The FDA has published their Food Safety Capacity-Building Plan as required by Section 305 of the recently enacted Food Safety Modernization Act. This act provides for the FDA to hold imported foods to the same standards as domestic foods as well as mandating more foreign inspections along with accreditation of third-party auditors. It is estimated that 15% of the US food supply is imported, including 50% of fresh fruit, 20% of fresh vegetables and 80% of seafood.
The Center for Disease Control estimates 48 million cases of food borne illness occur every year in the US, resulting in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. The FDA commissioned a study in 2012 by the Institute of Medicine which issued the report Ensuring Safe Foods and Medical Products Through Stronger Regulatory Systems Abroad. Over the next 10 years, the FDA will be working to transform itself from a predominantly domestically focused agency, operating in a globalized economy, to an internationally focused agency, fully prepared for a regulatory environment in which FDA-regulated products know no borders.
The FDA’s Key Goals are:
- Ensure efficiency across the Foods and Veterinary Medicine Program
- Increase effectiveness through evidence-based decision making
- Support the exchange of information between FDA and foreign government agencies or other entities
- Enhance technical assistance and capacity building in food safety
You can read the full plan HERE.