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In the area of food safety, a process is needed for allocating resources based on public health data and information.Risk managers must consider a wide variety of factors in their decision-making process, including the needs and values of a diverse set of stakeholders, which may diverge even with respect to public health.
Sometimes, this type of action is necessary; the FDA has no choice but to react when a problem manifests itself.
However, greater proactive efforts by the FDA would enhance food safety.
More proactive activities might involve conducting research to address crucial unknowns, undertaking formalized quantitative risk assessment, identifying candidate mitigation strategies to prevent repeat incidents, and ensuring the implementation of those strategies.
Critical to both long- and short-term initiatives are improvements in cooperation with partners (see Chapters 4 and 7); efficient data collection, sharing, and analysis (Chapter 5); and communication with the public (Chapter 9).
The state of knowledge and technology defines what is achievable through the application of current science.
Public resources can have the greatest favorable effect on public health if they are allocated in accordance with the combined analysis of risk assessment and technical feasibility….Similarly, effective cooperation and communication with diverse stakeholders will require that all levels of the FDA embrace a proactive, risk-based approach to food safety management and facilitate its implementation (Chapter 9).The committee did not conduct a comprehensive review of the details of all the risk-based activities of the FDA, such as the models utilized or factors considered in making individual decisions.These factors might include economic considerations, the controllability of risk, and the population affected.The committee recognizes that such multidimensional comparisons are a highly challenging endeavor.The committee was provided with general information with regard to the FDA’s risk-based activities and describes its understanding of those activities in this chapter.In this discussion, the committee uses concrete examples of those activities and identifies gaps with respect to the extent to which they adhere to the attributes and steps of the recommended approach.This chapter presents a conceptual approach for the prioritization of activities and allocation of resources to support both short- and long-term FDA responsibilities for food safety.Accordingly, the chapter lays out the foundation for a proactive, risk-based food safety system.There is consensus that food safety programs and any approach to food safety reform must be both science- and risk-based.This view was first articulated in the 1998 Institute of Medicine (IOM)/National Research Council (NRC) report (IOM/NRC, 1998) and is also addressed by other reports of the IOM/NRC (IOM/NRC, 2003), the U. Government Accountability Office (GAO) (GAO, 2004a,b,c, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009a,b), consumer groups (Consumers Union, 2008; Tucker-Foreman, 2009), and Congress (Becker, 2008, 2009; Brougher and Becker, 2008).