FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2022
Contact: Chana Goussetis, Communication & Marketing Director, National Environmental Health Association
National Environmental Health Association Recommends Improvements to FDA Human Foods Program
Denver, CO – Last week, the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) provided comment on the operations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Human Foods Program to the Reagan Udall Foundation as part of their FDA Operational Evaluation. Their evaluation will focus on structure, leadership, authority, resources, and the culture of the human foods program.
NEHA represents more than 6,700 individuals who are responsible for keeping food safe and communities free from foodborne illness daily and for implementing federal food safety regulations and programs.
“Environmental health and foodborne illness risk factors are profoundly local. Individual restaurants are the most reported locations of food preparation associated with foodborne illness outbreaks, many in sit-down establishments,” said Doug Farquhar, NEHA Government Affairs director. “History has shown that the single most important investment FDA can make is to build the capacity of local environmental health inspectors by supporting systems that provide training, skills, tools, and resources.”
NEHA’s recommendations included engaging food safety programs at state, tribal, local, and territorial governments; increasing and appropriately funding food safety agencies; educating, credentialing, and training food safety regulators and industry workers; and adoption of the most recent FDA Food Code, among other recommendations.
NEHA also commented on the challenges facing food safety programs. This feedback included difficulties created by the legal patchwork of federal, state, tribal, local, and territorial rules and regulations; limited capacity within organizations to track and surveil foodborne illness outbreaks across organizations; limited funding allocated to the Human Foods Program within the FDA budget; and current program oversight within the FDA structure.
NEHA expressed support for the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards to encourage the use of a standardized set of guidelines for food safety, as well as delegation of FDA authority and funding to state, tribal, local, and territorial food safety programs.
Read the full comment on the Reagan Udall Foundation stakeholder portal website.
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) represents more than 6,700 governmental, private, academic, and uniformed services sector environmental health professionals in the U.S., its territories, and internationally. NEHA is the profession’s strongest advocate for excellence in the practice of environmental health as it delivers on its mission to build, sustain, and empower an effective environmental health workforce.