The FDA, Food Safety, and related topics

This year I’m studying food safety policy in the US.  This web page is a collection point for the things I find worth going back to.  If you have suggestions, please email them to me.  Enjoy, but, warning:  studying food safety may change the way you behave in your kitchen, in restaurants, etc. 

Š        FDA and other government websites 

Š        Essential FDA & related reports 

Š        Book reviews & personal postings

Š        Questions about Politics of Food Safety

Š        Science & Food Science organizations

Š        Interest Groups (some overlap w/ above)

Š        news, journalism, professional publications



Š         The FDA website 

o    Recently created Office of Foods 

o    FDA’s Science Board 

o    FDA Action Levels (how many bugs in your food, etc.—fun at parties)

o    recent consideration of rules for transport of foods, for which a notice appeared in the Federal Register 

o    Carl Anderson’s Blog on FDA Stuff 

Š         The CDC’s Food Safety Office website

o     CDC Public Health Blog (excellent)

Š         The government’s Food Safety website 

Š         The President’s Food Safety Working Group (stakeholders included) 

Š         Congress’ work on S 510, organized by OpenCongress.  Here is a summary from CRS.  The S. Com. on H,E,L and P had a hearing and issued the chair’s mark in mid November of 2009.

Š         Congress’ work on HR 2749, organized by Open Congress.  Here is a summary from CRS.  

Š         Congress’ work on HR 875, organized by OpenCongress 

Š         USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service  (FSIS)

Š         The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service works to protect US agriculture. 

Š          The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Admin. works on marketing US agricultural products. 

Š         The Agricultural Marketing Service runs several commodity programs. 

Š        Current FSIS Recalls 

Š        Current FDA Recalls 

Š         The EPA did a study of what’s in biosolids, which many cities now give away or sell for use in gardens and on agriculture fields. 


The UK’s Food Standards Agency 


Š         Some of the best work on industrial chemicals, how we regulate them, and how that compares to Canada and the EU REACH system, is by Richard Denison at Environmental Defense. 

Š         Barfblog, related to KSU’s Bites project, “Safe Food from Farm to Fork.” 

Š         Marion Nestle, a top food safety expert and author, has a blog with lots of useful info. 

Š         The Pump Handle is a blog with many public health specialists contributing…. 

Š         The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale has many things, including a page on taxing sugar drinks 

Š         The Center for Science in the Public Interest has a Food Safety Page  

Š         The Kellogg Foundation has a Food and Society Policy program.  Their policy fellows have a blog…. 

Š         The Food Safety Project, at Georgetown U.  Check their links page. 

Š         Defending Science, a project from GWUs School of Public Health and Heath Services.

Š         Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and their Agriculture and Public Health Gateway  

Š         The Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia looks into many interesting topics. 

Š         The Center for Foodborne Illness (research and prevention) was started by two people after someone they knew died of food poisoning.  

Š         The folks at CIDRAP, U. Minn., have a good bibliography of food safety readings, a list of industry associations, a list of academic food safety centers, and more.  

Š         The Food Safety Research Consortium did a project on Prioritizing Opportunities to Reduce Foodborne Risk, website still there.

Š         The Human Food Project focuses mostly on relationships between microbes and us 

Š         Professor Daniel Carpenter, Harvard’s Dept. of Government, ran The FDA Project, focusing on pharmaceutical regulation. 


Š          See the President’s Cancer Panel Report, from May of 2010.  Here is a short commentary on it.  

Š          Recent testimony on SB 510 by Commissioner Hamburg

Š          The Grossman FDA Report estimates that a much bigger budget is needed than is found in the President’s proposal.  

Š         FDA Science and Mission at Risk 

Š         The Future of Drug Safety 

Š         Key Findings from President’s Working Group on food safety

Š          Federal Oversight of Food Safety (from GAO… note, on p. 2, the mention of points in FDA Science and Mission and Risk, and careful focus of this report—which does not touch main conclusions of FDA Science and Mission at Risk.)

Š          MMWR Weekly of April 10, 2009, which tells us “progress toward the national health objectives has plateaued, suggesting that fundamental problems with bacterial and parasitic contamination are not being resolved.”

Š         FSP Report, Breakdown (about lessons from a 2008 Salmonella outbreak)

INTEREST GROUPS and Interesting Political Observers

Š         The Alliance for a Stronger FDA 

Š         Carl Anderson’s Blog on FDA Stuff 

Š         Steven Grossman’s FDA MATTERS web page. 

Š         Marler Clark is a leading law firm that sues companies that make people sick  They publish Food Safety News.  AND, they publish Food Poisoning Journal. 

Š         The Pew Charitable Trusts have taken a position on food and produce safety  

Š         The National Family Farm Coalition connects food safety with ‘food sovereignty’

Š         The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition published a position paper on food safety issues. 

Š         STOP (Safe Tables Our Priority) is a group originally motivated to act by the 1993 E.coli outbreaks

Š         The Union of Concerned Scientists has a program on food and agriculture issues 

Š         The Food Rights Network is a self-appointed watchdog on recycled sewage, leader is author of a book on the topic

Š         Food and Water Watch is what it says, an interest group that tries to monitor and influence food and water issues

Š          The Community Alliance for Global Justice has a Food Justice Project  




My mother let me eat raw hamburger. 

Unpleasant Food Safety Story

Eat Cookie Dough 

Understanding the President’s Cancer Panel Report.  


Š         Important book: D. Michaels, Doubt is their Product, short version of argument is here.  

Š         Several book reviews are posted in the book review section of Carl Anderson’s FDA Blog

Š         a web page that supported a talk at PLU. 

Š         A page about our exposure to chemicals, and our response to it. 


I started a politics of food safety blog, but the others on this page were so good….  


Š         Ever wonder what is in “natural flavors”?  See this excellent piece in the New Yorker by Raffi Khatchadourian.

Š         excellent NYT piece on an E. coli case 

Š         NYT has links to many stories on their food safety main page

Š          Michael Pollan’s web page has descriptions of his books and links to many of his articles. 

Š          A 2003 Mother Jones piece on John Munsell, interesting guy

Š          A sign of how tough it is to get the facts:  See the International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.  Check their Journal.  Wow, looks scientific.  Peer-reviewed, too.  And yet…. check their sponsors.  Oh, not listed, “to be announced soon”?  They have been supported by tobacco, chemical, and drug companies.  Check the editor of the journal, and the Wikipedia page about him.  Hmmm, is this what science journals look like?  Thanks to David Michaels, Doubt is Their Product, pp. 53-4, for this example.  Michaels did not cite the Wikipedia page. 

Š          Defending Science (see above) posted the table of contents, with links to articles, of the American Journal of Public Health Supplement on Scientific Evidence and Public Policy, Sept. 2005..


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