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CDC and the Food Safety Modernization Act

CDC is committed to supporting the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and is working closely with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other agencies to execute its provisions. The new authorities for FDA and enhanced surveillance and response capacity at local, state and federal levels authorized in the Act can transform food safety systems in the United States. Inherent in the legislation is the potential to increase overall capabilities and provide new opportunities for detecting more problems sooner, responding to them faster and more efficiently, monitoring the effectiveness of interventions to prevent foodborne illness, and providing data to guide food safety policy.

CDC's ability to provide high quality surveillance data and leadership in outbreak investigations will support FDA in designing data driven preventive controls and food safety standards. The FSMA promotes the enhancement of foodborne illness surveillance systems to improve the collection, analysis, reporting, and usefulness of foodborne illness data.

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CDC Responsibilities

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Other provisions of the FSMA require, or will be enhanced by CDC leadership and participation. These activities include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Developing the Joint Food Safety and Food Defense Research Plan;
  • Designating high-risk foods based, in part, on the history of foodborne illness outbreaks attributed to such foods
  • Establish a work group to advise on the improvement of surveillance data collection, access and use;
  • Developing guidelines for individuals to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools and early childhood education programs.

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Surveillance—Implementation for Section 205

CDC has many ongoing activities which pertain to this section. Some of the additional activities needed to fulfill the components of this section include*:

"Improve the collection, analysis, reporting and usefulness of data on foodborne illnesses"

  • Increased participation in national surveillance networks and systems
  • Enhanced pathogen testing and genotyping methods
  • Enhanced IT infrastructure for electronic laboratory reporting and data integration
  • Customized attribution to agency specific food commodities, attribution by source and point of processing
  • Systematic collection and advanced testing of samples from outbreaks of unknown etiology
  • Reference database for standard pathogen information from public health laboratories
  • Extramural funding for scientific research by academic institutions
  • Establishing a "Working Group" to recommend improvements in foodborne disease surveillance

"Improve the collection, analysis, reporting and usefulness of data on foodborne illnesses"

  • Increased participation in FoodCORE
  • Standardized investigation data elements and enhanced IT infrastructure for communication and data integration
  • Extramural funding to implement best practices in outbreak response and containment nationally
  • Conduct a review of state and local capacities

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Food Safety Integrated Centers of Excellence—Implementation for Section 399V-5

  • Designate 5 Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence to serve as resources to respond to foodborne disease outbreaks
Image: US Map of Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence

Locations of Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence

CDC has designated five Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence to help fulfill its role in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). After a competitive process, five state health departments and their affiliated university partners were selected and notified: Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, and Tennessee.  With CDC's leadership, these Centers will provide technical assistance and training on epidemiological, laboratory, and environmental investigations of foodborne illness outbreaks and associated analyses. Centers will identify and implement best practices in foodborne diseases surveillance and will serve as a resource for public health professionals at state, local, and regional levels.

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Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management—Implementation for Section 112

  • Develop guidelines to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools and early childhood education programs

*Analysis of the current programs and gaps applicable to the legislation is ongoing

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Consumer Engagement and Public Meetings

Partnerships and public engagement are a critical part of CDC's commitment to FSMA. The following meetings were held with FDA and USDA and included representatives from consumer groups, industry, public health organizations, and state and local health departments.

Collaborative Food Safety Forum

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts Food Safety Project are jointly sponsoring the Collaborative Food Safety Forum for multiple stakeholders to engage in focused constructive, and creative development of recommendations for FSMA's implementation. Each Forum consists of a series of workshops on a specific aspect of FSMA. Please see each workshop's page below for more information, including CDC and partner presentations on surveillance, outbreaks and analytics.

Public Meetings

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