At the Atlantic Food Summit, Talk of Sustainability, Security, Nutrition Policy – and FDA Priorities

April 26, 2011

By Ricardo Carvajal

The Atlantic’s second annual Food Summit in Washington, DC brought together speakers and attendees with divergent views on questions of how to ensure sustainability of the food supply, improve the availability and affordability of foods, and address the problem of obesity.  On one point, there was general agreement – consumers should have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about their diet.  Among the speakers was Sam Kass, Assistant Chef at the White House and prominent administration spokesperson on nutrition policy, who confirmed that the administration intends to continue its evaluation of front-of-package nutrition labeling.  FDA recently announced a proposed study designed to cast light on how consumers perceive and use such information.

With respect to the Food Safety Modernization Act, Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor noted that the new law calls for some 50 deliverables in the form of regulations, guidance documents, and reports on strict timetables that FDA will be unable to meet.  FDA is therefore giving priority to standard setting (rulemakings on hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls, produce safety, and intentional adulteration), use of its new compliance tools (administrative detention and suspension of facility registration), further developing its partnership with the states, and improving oversight of imports.