Foodborne illness workshop set for Washington

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON – On March 30, a joint public workshop on how best to measure progress in reducing foodborne illness will be held in Washington, D.C. The meeting is sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (F.S.I.S.).

The workshop will focus on current methods for evaluating food-safety progress, the methodological and data challenges involved and the potential for improved metrics.

"Being able to draw links between what we're doing to keep the food supply safe and the frequency of human illness is crucial for gauging the effectiveness of our programs — what changes are needed, and in what areas," said Michael Taylor, F.D.A. Deputy Commissioner for Foods.

"To make our food safer, we must know as quickly as possible which foods are making people ill and why," said Jerold R. Mande, U.S.D.A. Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. "This meeting will help us develop the specific measures we need to see which policies work best to improve food safety."

C.D.C will explain during the public workshop how rates of foodborne illness are estimated for various purposes; for example, to determine overall rates of foodborne illness and rates for specific pathogens. F.D.A., F.S.I.S. and a state representative will describe other measurements they use to gauge the success of policies and other interventions for reducing foodborne illness.

A notice about the workshop was published in the March 1 Federal Register. Information about the workshop is available in the Federal Register notice, at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-4110.pdf. To register on-line, visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/

WorkshopsMeetingsConferences/ucm201102.htm

Pre-registration, which may be done on-line, ends on March 24.

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