University of Maryland’s JIFSAN food safety training programs are highlighted in the recently released FDA’s International Food Safety Capacity building plan.

In 2011, Congress enacted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), recognizing the unique challenges faced by FDA in the area of food safety in the 21st century. FSMA gives the agency new tools for meeting these challenges, shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. More specifically, FSMA directs FDA to build a new food safety system based on the public health principle of comprehensive prevention, an enhanced focus on risk-based resource allocation, and partnership across the public and private sectors to minimize hazards from farm-to-table. In addition, Section 305 of FSMA calls on FDA to develop a comprehensive plan to expand the technical, scientific, and regulatory capacity of foreign governments and their respective food industries in countries that export foods to the United States (the “Plan”). This Plan meets the Section 305 requirement, and does so by incorporating FSMA’s principles of comprehensive prevention, risk-based resource allocation, and partnering.

This Plan provides a strategic framework for FDA’s international food safety capacity-building activities. It provides examples of how FDA can expand the technical, scientific, and regulatory capacity of foreign governments and their food industries, and it describes capacity-building activities that the agency is already engaged in. This Plan will also enable all stakeholders to see the breadth of food safety capacity building efforts that FDA is pursuing. It charts a direction for how FDA will prioritize its capacity-building efforts based on risk, and how the agency will work in partnership with counterpart authorities, industry, and other organizations in order to achieve lasting food safety results. FDA’s capacity-building programs will aim to support efficient and sustainable improvements to countries’ food safety systems. To increase the efficiency of these new programs, FDA will be strategic in how it allocates its scarce resources. As described in this Plan, the agency will use enhanced intelligence of food safety risks on a country-by-country, commodity-by-commodity basis to determine the best candidates for technical assistance and capacity building programs. FDA will coordinate with partners to avoid duplication of efforts and to broaden the reach of technical assistance and capacity-building efforts. FDA will use data to develop strategies, allowing the agency to make decisions about capacity building based on identifiable needs, while also allowing the agency to measure the impact of its efforts.

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