FDA releases Blueprint for the New Era of Smarter Food Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released its "Blueprint for the Future" (Blueprint) as part of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative.

Launched in April 2019, this effort seeks to build upon FDA's work implementing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) by establishing a new approach to food safety that leverages technology and other tools to create a safer and more traceable food system. The Blueprint "envision[s] a framework that will enable food to be traced to its source in seconds and will utilize new data analytical techniques to strengthen prevention of foodborne illnesses, alerting consumers in real time before contaminated or misbranded foods are consumed." In many respects, the Blueprint is a strategic plan that will guide FDA's food safety priorities in the coming years. As such, there are no specific timelines or action steps set out in the document.

FDA was poised to release the Blueprint in March 2020, but was delayed when the agency pivoted to focus its efforts on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his comments announcing the release of the Blueprint, Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, explained how events and trends that arose following the outbreak of COVID-19, such as supply-chain imbalances and increased reliance on food delivery services, have underscored the importance of the initiative.

The Blueprint outlines goals for FDA over the next decade to enhance traceability, improve predictive analytics, respond more rapidly to outbreaks, address new business models, reduce contamination of food, and foster the development of a food safety culture. It is organized around the four core elements, explained below, which the agency initially identified in the "Food for Thought" outline of ideas the agency released in October 2019. FDA also has identified the senior leaders who will lead FDA's efforts in achieving the goals in each of the four core elements.

This post highlights some of the goals within in each of the four core elements. More details are provided in the Blueprint itself.

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