The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Enhancing Food Safety: The Role of the Food and Drug Administration (2010)

Recent outbreaks of illnesses traced to contaminated sprouts and lettuce illuminate the weaknesses in the system for preventing foodborne diseases. Although food safety is the responsibility of everyone, from producers to consumers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has an essential role and currently oversees monitoring and intervention for 80 percent of the food supply. The FDA's ability to discover potential threats to food safety and prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness are hampered by the inefficient  use of its limited resources and a piecemeal approach to gathering and using information on risks. Enhancing Food Safety, a report from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, responds to a congressional request for recommendations on how to close gaps in FDA's food safety systems.

Enhancing Food Safety begins with a brief review of the Food Protection Plan (FPP), FDA's food safety philosophy developed in 2007. The report deems it ineffectual and stresses the need for more detail and specific strategic planning. The report also explores the development and implementation of a more effective food safety system and recommends adopting a risk-based decision-making approach to food safety; creating a data surveillance and research infrastructure; integrating federal, state, and local government food safety programs; and enhancing efficiency of inspections.

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What do you know about infectious disease?

The 1918 influenza pandemic (the so-called “Spanish” flu) is estimated to have killed how many people worldwide?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The 1918 influenza pandemic is estimated to have killed between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide. Many of those deaths were due to the effects of pneumococcal pneumonia, a secondary complication of flu for which no antibiotics existed in 1918.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The 1918 influenza pandemic is estimated to have killed between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide. Many of those deaths were due to the effects of pneumococcal pneumonia, a secondary complication of flu for which no antibiotics existed in 1918.

  • Correct!

    The 1918 influenza pandemic is estimated to have killed between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide. Many of those deaths were due to the effects of pneumococcal pneumonia, a secondary complication of flu for which no antibiotics existed in 1918.