FDA Acting Commissioner Sharpless and Deputy Commissioner Yiannas Issue Statement on Steps to Usher the U.S. into a New Era of Smarter Food Safety

 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D., and Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas recently issued a public statement on steps to usher the U.S. into a new era of smarter food safety (the Statement). 

The Statement reflects on the evolution of our food system from an “around the corner” network to one that is “around the world.” It posits the next 10 years will see more innovation in the food sphere than the past 20. As such, the agency is looking to augment its food safety work such as implementing FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements and its use of technologies such as whole genome sequencing and the GenomeTrackr Network, by leveraging, among other things, the use of new and emerging technologies to create “a more digital, traceable, and safer system.” The Statement announces two new FDA initiatives – one an artificial intelligence pilot program for imported foods review, the other a “Blueprint for the New Era of Smarter Food Safety.” The agency will seek stakeholder input through a public meeting later this year on the Blueprint, addressing the key areas traceability, digital technologies, and evolving business models. In brief, the agency views the new era of smarter food safety as one that is “people-led, FSMA-based, and technology-enabled.”

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