Saturday, September 19, 2020

Statement by FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D.

FDA Launches New Era of Smarter Food Safety Initiative, Releases Blue Print and Pilot Study

SILVER SPRING, Md., July 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, it is my great privilege to announce FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint. We were originally going to make this announcement in March, but as you all are well aware, we were forced to turn our attention to addressing the public health emergency posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the months that have followed, it has become even clearer — from our experiences with the pandemic and the lessons we have been learning as part of the FDA’s response to it – just how essential the actions outlined in this blueprint are and, if anything, that they are more important now, than ever.

Whatever theoretical or aspirational aspects there were to this blueprint before the pandemic, those have been propelled into concrete and essential action plans. I’ll explain what I mean as I get into the details of just how we will be leveraging new technologies and approaches to create a more digital, transparent and safer food system.

I want to point out that food safety was high on my radar even before I’d come to the FDA. I’d heard about the New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative and, upon arrived at the Agency, it was one of the first things I wanted to learn more about. That’s in part because it seemed to align closely with the core values that have guided me in my work as a medical and public health professional: to apply the best medical science and most rigorous data to the work; to promote integrity and transparency; and to advance innovation and discovery.

So, when I arrived at the FDA last December, there was no doubt that some of the first people I wanted to speak with were the leaders of FDA’s leadership on foods, Frank Yiannas, FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response, Susan Mayne, the director of our Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Steve Solomon, the director of our Center for Veterinary Medicine, and Judy McMeekin, the Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs.

These leaders highlighted the enormous opportunities we have to use cutting edge science and technology in support of our ability to help ensure the safety of the American public.

And they explained just how the New Era blueprint intends to do that, by incorporating input from external stakeholders in industry, our state partners, and multiple levels of experts within FDA’s foods program.

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