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FDA Vows to Improve Food Safety

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Oct. 6 released its Regulatory Science Report that outlines the agency’s plans to advance regulatory science through its Regulatory Science Initiative.

In a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the agency will spend $25 million in the next year on collaborations with scientists from industry, academia and government. She said improved scientific standards will help speed up the approval of important new products and spot safety problems sooner.

The report provides examples of current FDA activities in regulatory science and also considers how advancements in the field can help deliver better, safer, more innovative products to Americans in seven different public health areas. One of the seven areas addressed by the report is food safety.

The report noted major focus of FDA’s interest in regulatory science is the development of more rapid and practical methods for detecting microbial pathogens in food and equipping FDA’s labs to test multiple food samples for contaminants simultaneously. FDA also must provide scientific leadership to enhance understanding of the causes of food-borne illnesses so that interventions can be designed and implemented to effectively and feasibly reduce risk.

The report also outlined a number of additional opportunities to advance regulatory science to improve food safety including:

  • Developing effective tools and strategies for sampling, testing and analysis;
  • Preventing microbiological hazards;
  • Controlling toxins;
  • Monitoring antibiotic resistance in food-borne pathogens; and
  • Modernizing safety testing.

Click here to read the full report.

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