The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will host a joint public workshop on how best to measure progress in reducing foodborne illnesses on March 30, in Washington, D.C.
The President's Food Safety Working Group has emphasized the need for improved metrics for evaluating the government's efforts to prevent foodborne illness. The workshop will focus on current methods for evaluating food safety progress, the methodologic and data challenges involved, and the potential for improved metrics.
"Being able to draw links between what we're doing to keep the food supply safe and the frequency of human illness is crucial for gauging the effectiveness of our programs -- what changes are needed, and in what areas," said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor.
"To make our food safer, we must know as quickly as possible which foods are making people ill and why," said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Jerold R. Mande. "This meeting will help us develop the specific measures we need to see which policies work best to improve food safety."
The public workshop will include explanations, by CDC, of how rates of foodborne illness are estimated for various purposes; for example, to determine overall rates of foodborne illness and rates for specific pathogens. FDA, FSIS, and a state representative will describe other measurements they use to gauge the success of policies and other interventions for reducing foodborne illness.
"The data we collect and analyze can provide critical insights to guide our food safety programs; all stakeholders should understand how this information is best applied to advance food safety in the United States." Dr. Rima Khabbaz, Deputy Director of Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For more information about the workshop, go to: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-4110.pdf
To register on-line, visit: http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/WorkshopsMeetingsConferences/ucm201102.htm
On-line pre-registration ends March 24.
SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration