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Food Protection Plan
An integrated strategy for protecting the nation’s food supply

November 2007

Department of Health and Human Services
Food and Drug Administration

“Americans enjoy unprecedented choice and convenience in filling the cupboard today, but we also face new challenges to ensuring that our food is safe. This Food Protection Plan will implement a strategy of prevention, intervention and response to build safety into every step of the food supply chain.”

Michael O. Leavitt
Secretary of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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A Message from the Commissioner

As a physician and the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, protecting America’s food supply is extremely important to me.

American consumers have one of the safest food supplies in the world, but the world is changing and we know it can be safer. New food sources, advances in production and distribution methods, and the growing volume of imports due to consumer demand call for a new approach to protecting our food from unintentional or deliberate contamination. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must keep pace with these changes so that the safety of the nation’s food supply remains second to none.

In the past few years, FDA has introduced several initiatives that address microbial and other food safety hazards with domestic or imported produce and that guide industry practices in the safe production of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. FDA has also worked hard to raise awareness about food defense issues and preparedness. These are just a few things we are doing to improve food safety and food defense.

Recent nationwide recalls remind us how devastating foodborne illness can be. In the past year, contaminated peanut butter led to illnesses in more than 300 people and at least 50 hospitalizations. Contaminated spinach resulted in 206 illnesses, three deaths, and more than 100 people hospitalized. Reports of kidney failure and deaths in cats and dogs prompted a recall of more than 100 brands of pet food.

For every one of these emergencies, the FDA responded immediately to minimize harm. FDA investigators traced each problem’s source and worked without delay to remove the affected products from market shelves. FDA staff continue to work diligently to protect our food supply, by containing outbreaks and preventing further illnesses.

With this FDA Food Protection Plan we are going even further. It is a forward-oriented concept that uses science and modern information technology to identify potential hazards ahead of time. By preventing most harm before it can occur, enhancing our intervention methods at key points in the food production system, and strengthening our ability to respondimmediately when problems are identified, FDA can provide a food protection framework that keeps the American food supply safe.

Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D.
Commissioner of Food and Drugs


I. Executive Summary

II. Introduction

III. Changes and Challenges

· Trends in Demographics and Consumption

o Shifting Demographics

o Convenience

o Consumption Patterns

· Global Food Supply

· New Threats

o New Foodborne Pathogens

o Intentional Contamination

· Communication

IV. An Overview of the Approach

· Core Elements

o Prevention – Build safety in from the start

o Intervention – Verify prevention and intervene when risks are identified

o Response – Respond rapidly and appropriately

· Cross-Cutting Principles

1. Focus on risks over a product’s life cycle from production to consumption

2. Target resources to achieve maximum risk reduction

3. Address both unintentional and deliberate contamination

4. Use science and modern technology systems

V. The Integrated Plan

· Core Element #1: Prevention

1.1 Promote Increased Corporate Responsibility to Prevent Foodborne Illnesses
1.2 Identify Food Vulnerabilities and Assess Risks
1.3 Expand the Understanding and Use of Effective Mitigation Measures

· Core Element #2: Intervention

2.1 Focus Inspections and Sampling Based on Risk
2.2 Enhance Risk-based Surveillance
2.3 Improve the Detection of Food System “Signals” that Indicate Contamination

· Core Element #3: Response

3.1 Improve Immediate Response
3.2 Improve Risk Communications to the Public, Industry and Other Stakeholders

VI. Enhance Information Technology

VII. Conclusion

To read more, go to http://www.fda.gov/oc/initiatives/advance/food.html


Published according to Act of Congress.

Printed for SIMEON BUTLER,


No. 1. One quart stewed and strained, 3 pints cream, 9 beaten eggs, sugar, mace, nutmeg and ginger, laid into paste No. 7 or 3, and with a dough spur, cross and chequer it, and baked in dishes three quarters of an hour.

No. 2. One quart of milk, 1 pint pompkin, 4 eggs, molasses, allspice and ginger in a crust, bake 1 hour.