The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released an ambitious report today designed to address food safety and food defense for both domestic and imported products. A year after the Food Protection Plan was launched, the agency debuted strategies for prevention, intervention, and response designed to cover the full life cycle of the food supply.

Among the report’s highlights is the plan to establish offices in five regions that export to the U.S., including India and China, which both already have office staffs in place. “Every day, the FDA is working with foreign countries, state and local governments, regulated industry, and consumer groups to ensure the safety of the food supply,” says Commissioner of Food and Drugs Andrew C. von Eschenbach in a statement.

In addition to staffing throughout the world, the agency is also hiring an International Notification Coordinator to maintain active dialogue between the agency and foreign regulatory authorities.

The FDA came under fire in the wake of this summer’s tomato scare from industry insiders who felt the agency’s response was not quick or decisive enough. In order to improve response capabilities, the agency signed cooperative agreements with six U.S. states to form a Rapid Response Team to develop, implement, exercise, and integrate an all-hazards response for food and foodborne illnesses.

The entire One-Year Summary of Progress under the Food Protection Plan can be accessed here.

Read QSR‘s coverage of this summer’s outbreak in the July article “Who is Responsible for the Outbreak?”
–Blair Chancey