The Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) proposes the creation of an Alliance of State Manufactured Food Program Managers, hereinafter Alliance to advance a national integrated food safety system. The purpose of this Alliance would be to facilitate immediate and long-term improvements to the national food safety system by strengthening interagency collaboration and improving state, local, tribal, or territorial regulatory and surveillance protection programs for manufactured foods. Achieving these objectives will require extensive cooperation and coordination. AFDO will build upon its existing broad network of resources, its community of federal, state, local, tribal and territorial entities built over more than 115 years of the association's existence and experience to establish an Alliance, a dedicated network of manufactured food program managers that will include federal, state and local regulatory officials. Through this Alliance, AFDO will enhance widespread influence by formalizing this community and bringing them together for annual face-to-face meetings to support the advancement of the Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS) and better access and share food safety information and data and to assist FDA in meeting the provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Through this Alliance, AFDO will conduct surveys such as the AFDO State Food Safety Resource Survey to ascertain critical information on cooperative initiatives or programs and other relevant information as well as survey states and identify existing laws and collect details on new and unique state laws that go beyond the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. AFDO will also develop task-oriented guidelines to address issues that can be adopted or integrated into State/Local/tribal food manufacturing programs and identify and support pilot programs in manufactured food programs that can demonstrate the effectiveness and importance of a nationally integrated food safety system. This Alliance will provide community-building, exchange and networking structure to support resources, and it can expand on current AFDO efforts to support the integration of the national food safety system with successful projects such as AFDO's Registry of Subject Matter Experts, AFDO's Topical Index of Regulatory Guidance, and the AFDO Program Manager Information Portal to allow for the sharing of relevant program information and resources. The Alliance will also identify and coordinate training activities with FDA and/or other entities such as the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI), and it will update and improve the Directory of State & Local Officials (DSLO) to enhance regulatory communication and coordination through an easy-to-use public interface allowing users to quickly identify state regulatory contacts.
The AFDO Alliance for Advancing a National Integrated Food Safety System proposal is intended to facilitate long-term improvements to the national food safety system by strengthening agency collaborations and improving the state regulatory and surveillance protection programs for manufactured foods. By building upon the strong foundation of AFDO's structure and its existing regulatory contact framework, an Alliance will be established; bringing together federal, state and local regulatory contacts to work toward advancing a national integrated food safety system and effectively fulfilling the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Ultimately, the safety and security of the United States' food supply will improve.