With FSMA now law of the land and the FDA budgeting $1 billion annually for food safety and nutrition, the agency needs to take several steps to meet food safety and nutrition objectives, says a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The report calls for the FDA to develop performance measures with associated targets and time frames for all of its food safety and nutrition-related objectives and complete a plan that includes specific actions, priorities and milestones for implementing the Foods and Veterinary Medicine (FVM) Program’s strategic plan.
The report (GAO-18-174), “Food Safety and Nutrition: FDA Can Build on Existing Efforts to Measure Progress and Implement Key Activities,” examines:
- FDA’s key food safety- and nutrition-related activities since FSMA’s enactment in 2011 and how FDA determined its priorities for those activities
- The resources FDA dedicated to those activities in fiscal years 2011-2016.
- The extent to which FDA set goals for those activities in fiscal years 2011-2017 and is assessing progress toward those goals.
- FDA’s planned food safety- and nutrition-related activities and associated time frames.
According to the GAO, FDA has identified food safety- and nutrition-related activities that it plans to undertake in the fiscal year 2018, but its time frames for such activities in the longer term are unclear. Although FDA plans to pursue the food safety and nutrition strategies identified in the FVM’s ten-year strategic plan, the specific time frames that would support these strategies are unclear.
Therefore, the GAO is making the following recommendations to the FDA:
- The Commissioner of FDA should ensure that FVM Program staff uniformly document the bases for their decisions for issuing either regulations or guidance related to food safety and nutrition, such as by using concept papers or guidance initiation sheets.
- The Commissioner of FDA should ensure that the FVM Program develops performance measures with associated targets and time frames for all eight of FDA’s food safety- and nutrition-related objectives.
- The Commissioner of FDA should complete an implementation plan that includes specific actions, priorities, and milestones for the FVM Program’s strategic plan.
Currently, the status on all three recommendations is open, and GAO will provided updated information when it confirms what actions FDA has taken in response to these recommendations.
To follow the status, read or download the full report, visit the GAO’s Website for GAO-18-174, released on March 5th, 2018.