The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) has released its Science and Research Strategic Plan for 2015-2018. The key takeaway from the plan is that implementing new and more advanced technological measures will go a long way to combatting some of the key knowledge gaps that exist in foody safety standard and protocols today.

A science-based organization within the FDA, the CFSAN is responsible for regulating food (including the proper labeling of food products), as well as dietary supplements and cosmetics. Central to its duties is the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a responsibility whose importance will become increasingly significant as the deadlines for a number of the FSMA’s key rules begin to arrive.

One major obstacle in the implementation of the FSMA are a number of “knowledge gaps” that make regulatory decision-making a challenge. The Science and Research Strategic Plan lists a number of measures to help combat these holes, such as the development of preventive measures for microbial and chemical food hazards, the implementation of more advanced contaminant screening methods, and advancements in health research. According to the plan, technology will play a large role in realizing these goals. For example, improvements in screening for contaminants will be realized through scientific and technological advances.

The CFSAN will work to implement the plan’s strategic goals, and fill the identified data gaps, over the next three years. Implementation will be achieved through collaboration between parties in a variety of different regulatory and research fields; the plan notes that, “as the regulatory environment for CFSAN-regulated products becomes increasingly complex, as well as new tools, technologies, and scientific needs continue to evolve, CFSAN’s scientific enterprise must build a foundation of collaborative research and scientific exchange to effectively support regulatory decision making.”

To read a full copy of the Science and Research Strategic Plan, please click here.