Several states have entered into a domestic mutual reliance agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). California, Florida, Utah, and Wisconsin have all entered similar agreements with FDA. The agreements are designed to help bolster food safety within the supply chain. Better coordination between state and federal officials will help reduce duplicative regulatory oversight while also addressing the risk of foodborne illness outbreaks. Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Human and Animal Food Operations in the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, Michael Rogers said cooperation among authorities is critical for ensuring a safe food supply.
“Mutual reliance between the FDA and individual states is one example of the many actions the agency is taking to address our nation’s increasingly complex food production and distribution systems,” Rogers said in a press release. “We expect that as more states sign mutual reliance agreements, it will help reduce redundancy and duplication of effort, optimize the impact of our collective oversight, and allow us to build on the long-standing relationships that we have with our state regulatory partners. This is truly a step forward towards achieving a seamless integrated food safety system between the federal and state regulators.”
Establishing a mutual reliance agreement will help coordinate food safety efforts, allowing for better data sharing among agencies. Synchronizing safety efforts between federal and state officials creates a greater opportunity to better protect the national food supply. The collaborative approach will assist with more precise risk prioritization, more in-depth outbreak investigations, and inspections. Improved development and monitoring of key metrics and laboratory capacity will also be made possible through the agreements.
The domestic mutual reliance framework provides opportunities for collaborators to jointly identify food safety needs and build upon work already conducted through other regulatory programs. Through the agreements, a more exact national regulatory system can be developed, impacting things such as resource allocation, training, and outreach. The agreements are all part of a national, coordinated effort to improve food safety, as outlined in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the Partnership for Food Protection, and the New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint.