What happens when you get 130+ people focused on food safety in a room for two and half days? What is the result of encouraging people to think outside of the box when it comes to changes needed to reduce foodborne illness? In a word -- change.
As part of AFDO’s 2019-20 priorities as outlined by President Ernie Julian, on the front burner is moving the needle on the reduction of foodborne illness through the work of AFDO members and partners. At a meeting heldlast week in Atlanta, the focus was on the collaboration and development of a reduction action plan that brings together all partners who have a stake in this priority.
By putting the spotlight on a coordinated federal, state, local and industry plan, the desired outcome is an actual reduction of illness due to among others: STEC, Listeria, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Norovirus. This multi-day session focused on what is already working and what is on the wish list of change -- from increased sharing of data, both positive and negative for learning purposes to how to make regulations work instead of hinder some detection and learning. Participants were asked to share their own obstacles and brainstorm solutions.
From that, came a draft action plan that provided 1-, 3- and 10- year goals. Attendees represented FDA, CDC, USDA/FSIS, industry as well as consumer focused associations, state and local regulators, academia and retail outlets both grocery and restaurants.
During the meeting, Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response with the FDA shared current foodborne illness intervention strategies as well as progress on the Era of Smarter Food Safety that Yiannas rolled out as an initiative in 2019.
Also presenting on the current state of foodborne illness in various arenas from the FDA as well as the CDC and USDA were:
- Dr. Robert Tauxe, Director, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, CDC
- Dr. Patricia Griffin, Chief of the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, CDC
- Dr. Beau Bruce, Deputy Chief, Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, CDC
- Dr. Denise Eblen, Assistant Administrator, USDA
- Dr. Laura Brown, Behavioral Scientist, National Center for Environmental Health, CDC
- John Marcello, Special Assistant to the Office of State Cooperative Programs Director, FDA
- Dr. Aron Hall, Norovirus Epidemiology Team Lead, Division of Viral Diseases, CDC
A panel of industry leaders presented on current reduction efforts bring led by industry.
- Oscar Garrison, Food Safety, United Egg Producers
- Mick Miklos, Member Engagement, National Restaurant Association
- Adam Friedlander, Food Safety and Technical Services, Food Safety, Food Marketing Institute
Please look for follow up information about the outcomes of this summit in future e-news issues.