Highlighting the need for agency preparedness and stronger messaging to influence consumer dietary choices, the Food and Drug Administration has released a strategic plan for the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Science and Research.
The document identifies five goals the agency believes will have the greatest effect for modernizing the nation’s food safety system and protecting public health, according to a news release from the FDA.
The goals are:
- Better controlling and preparing for hazards;
- Creating faster and validated methods;
- Influencing consumer behavior toward healthy dietary choices;
- Developing technology to understand and evaluate scientific information; and
- Improving FDA’s adaptability and responsiveness.
The document noted that the demand for fresh and minimally processed food is increasing at the same time reliance on imports has increased.
“With food imports doubling in the period between 2002 and 2010, particularly challenging is the need to ensure the safety of imported foods,” according to the plan. The plan said that in 2011, 80% of seafood and 50% of fresh fruit consumed in the U.S. was imported. “Traditional methods for sterilizing and disinfecting food must change to accommodate consumer preference for fresh and minimally processed foods,” according to the plan.
In coming years, the FDA said that it hopes it can achieve improved preventative controls for reducing or eliminating salmonella and E. coli in fresh produce. The agency also said it wants improved methods for detecting salmonella and E. coli in fresh produce, according to the release. While the first nutrition food labels appeared in the U.S. more than 100 years ago, the strategic plan sees room to improve dietary guidance.
Updates from the FDA are online.