The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) have issued a new Strategic Plan for 2017-2021 as part of the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC).
IFSAC was created in 2011 to improve coordination of federal food safety analytic efforts and address cross-cutting priorities for food safety data collection, analysis, and use. Its projects and studies aim to identify foods that are important sources of human illness. IFSAC focuses analytic efforts on four priority pathogens: Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), and Campylobacter. CDC estimates that together, these four pathogens cause 1.9 million cases of foodborne illness in the United States each year.
Under the new strategic plan, IFSAC will focus on continuing to improve estimates of the sources of foodborne illnesses and developing methods to estimate how these sources change over time. The three goals of the new strategic plan are to improve the use and quality of new and existing data sources; improve analytic methods and models; and enhance communication about IFSAC progress.
The strategic plan outlines key objectives to achieve those goals, including:
- Enhance the collection and quality of relevant source data;
- Enhance the use of existing regulatory and foodborne illness surveillance data;
- Incorporate genomic data and other novel data sources;
- Explore ways to address key gaps in data quality, methods and models;
- Develop new analytic approaches and models to maximize use of existing data;
- Expand the availability of technical and scientific expertise through collaboration with internal and external partners;
- Enhance relationships and engagement with internal and external groups; and
- Improve the synthesis, interpretation and dissemination of analytical findings for multiple audiences.
The plan also highlights accomplishments from IFSAC’s first five years, and the group’s intent to continue engaging with stakeholders on future work.
For more information on IFSAC, please visit the collaboration’s website.