Current Status, Future Directions and Public MeetingsWASHINGTON, June 29, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today took another step in the agencies' collaborative efforts to measure progress in reducing illness, harm, and death from contaminated food by announcing two joint public meetings to hear stakeholder presentations on measuring progress on food safety. The two meetings are being held in Chicago, Ill., on July 21, and in Portland, Ore., on October 20. The first public meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 21, 2010, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 East Wacker Dr., in Chicago Ill. A second public meeting will be held on October 20, 2010, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at The Crowne Plaza Portland Downtown, 1441 NE Second Ave., in Portland, Ore. The public meetings announced today are extensions of the initial one-day public workshop held on March 30, 2010, where FSIS, FDA, and CDC discussed their collaborations on the methodological and data challenges involved in the development of feasible and effective food safety metrics. The agencies have been collaborating to reduce foodborne illness as part of the Food Safety Working Group, which has recommended a public health-focused approach to food safety based on the principles of prioritizing prevention, strengthening surveillance and enforcement, and improving response and recovery. At the two public meetings, the agencies will hear presentations from any interested stakeholder, including members of consumer groups, industry, public health experts, and state and local regulators on the measurements they recommend or are using to assess performance in food safety. The agencies will present information on the Food Safety Working Group's charge to create meaningful metrics to measure the effectiveness of the nation's food safety system. They also will present current thinking, focusing on how these metrics might be applied to evaluate the success of FDA's shell egg safety rule, FSIS implementation of broiler chicken controls, and CDC's efforts to collect and analyze human disease data. Additionally, the agencies will present information about the shared list of metrics that was developed by them to support the work of the Food Safety Working Group. Documents and agenda items related to the two regional public meetings will be accessible prior to the public meetings on the FSIS webpage at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events/. "Measuring progress in reducing the risk of foodborne illness is an important part of our food safety strategy. It's how we know what's working and helps us learn from experience," said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor. "The methods and data needs are challenging, which is why we are working closely with the food safety community to find the most effective and feasible measures of progress." "What doesn't get measured doesn't get done," said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Jerold R. Mande. "To meet the president's food safety goals, we need clear, effective measures of food safety so that government and industry can be held accountable by the public." "These public meetings are an excellent opportunity for those who want to learn more about food safety and foodborne disease detection in this country from the federal agencies who work closely with state and local officials on this important work," said Christopher Braden, director of the proposed Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases at CDC. "I expect that CDC and its partners will benefit from a variety of useful suggestions on how to do our jobs better." For registration information, please contact Jodee Warner, EDJ Associates, Inc., 11300 Rockville Pike, Suite 1001, Rockville, MD 20852, at (240) 221-4296, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meeting participants are encouraged to register electronically and in advance on the FSIS webpage at www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events/. Participants may also register by fax, e-mail, or telephone by providing information, including: name, organization, address, telephone number and e-mail address to the registration contact. For general questions about the public meeting, requests to make an oral presentation and submission of a presentation, or for special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Juanita Yates, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA, at (301) 436-1731, or by e-mail at email@example.com. The deadline for requesting to make an oral presentation during the Chicago meeting is July 6, 2010. All documents related to the public meeting will be available for public inspection in the FSIS Docket Room, USDA, FSIS, Room 2-2127, George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Mailstop 5474, Beltsville, MD 20705-5474, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday or at the FDA, Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852, as soon as they become available. A notice about the two joint public meetings is scheduled to be published in the June 30, 2010, Federal Register. After publication, the Federal register notice can be found on the FSIS webpage at www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events/ Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at www.AskKaren.gov. "Ask Karen" includes a "Live Chat" feature for consumers to use, to ask food safety questions that will bridge the gap between the self-service "Ask Karen" database and assisted telephone service. Live Chat is available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, Eastern Time, except federal holidays. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. Podcasts and SignFSIS video-casts in American Sign Language featuring text-captioning are available online at www.fsis.usda.gov/news_&_events/multimedia.