The plan builds on a paper released by the agency in October last year, in which it outlined the importance of the agency’s efforts to keep its food safety program in step with emerging risks, such as the rapid development of testing methods to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico after the oil spill there, or monitoring anti-microbial resistant foodborne pathogens.
FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement: "The breadth and scope of FDA's regulatory oversight is extraordinary, touching the lives of every American, through the food they eat, the medicines they take, and the medical devices they use. As new discoveries yield increasingly complex products, this strategic plan ensures that our experts are equipped to make science-based decisions resulting in sound regulatory policy. It positions us to foster innovation through better science without compromising our high safety standard."
The FDA is responsible for overseeing the safety of about 80 percent of the nation’s food supply.
In a dedicated section on food safety, the document concentrates on implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law in January.
The agency said that the new law focuses on prevention and risk-based priority setting.
“To effectively implement this new food safety mandate, it is imperative that FDA ensures a strong science infrastructure, clearly identifies its research needs, and collaborates with other public health and research agencies in the Federal government, state government agencies, academia, and private industry,” the paper said.
In particular the FDA said it intends to focus on implementing centralized planning and performance measurements; improving information sharing; maintaining ‘mission critical’ science capabilities; and cultivating expert institutional knowledge through training programs.
More information is available on the FDA’s website here: www.fda.gov/regulatoryscience.