( File photo )

The Food and Drug Administration will have a public meeting to discuss its New Era of Smarter Food Safety.

The all-day meeting will be Oct. 21 at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Hotel in Rockville, Md. Topics of breakout sessions will include traceability, smarter tools for prevention, evolving business models and retail food safety, according to a news release.

The FDA is seeking a “blueprint” for the New Era program.

“We intend for the strategic plan to outline how this new approach will address public health challenges, including being able to trace sources of contaminated foods and using new predictive analytics tools like artificial intelligence to assess risks and prioritize the agency’s work and resources,” according to the FDA release.

Comments from the meeting, and submissions to the Federal Register, will help shape the blueprint.

In an interview on the New Era program on the FDA’s website, the agency’s Frank Yiannas, deputy commissioner for Food Policy and Response, said there is new technology that can help trace items through the food supply chain.

“These include blockchain, sensor technology, the internet of things, and artificial intelligence to create a more digital, traceable, and safer food system,” he said in the online interview. “This new approach creates shared value for all stakeholders — farmers, food producers, regulators, consumers and the planet."

The FDA announced plans for its food safety campaign in late April following E. coli outbreaks traced to California and Arizona leafy greens. During investigations, traceability became problematic due to lack of digital records or no record-keeping at all.

“The emergence of blockchain technology, because of its distributed and decentralized nature that aligns more closely with a decentralized and distributed food system, has enabled food system stakeholders to imagine being able to have full end-to-end traceability,” Yiannas said in the interview. “An ability to deliver accurate, real-time information about food, how it’s produced, and how it flows from farm to table is a game-changer for food safety.”

The public meeting registration is online

More information, including deadlines for submitting requests to comments at the meeting are on the FDA website.

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