The Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) Food Forum was established in 1993 to allow science and technology leaders in the food industry, top administrators in several federal government agencies from the United States and Canada, representatives from consumer interest groups, and academicians to openly communicate in a neutral setting. The Food Forum provides a mechanism for these diverse groups to discuss food, food safety, and food technology issues and to identify possible approaches for addressing these issues by taking into consideration the often complex interactions among industry, regulatory agencies, consumers, and academia. The objective, however, is to illuminate issues, not to resolve them. Unlike study committees of the IOM, forums cannot provide advice or recommendations to any government agency or other organization. Similarly, workshop summaries or other products resulting from forum activities are precluded from reaching conclusions or recommendations but, instead, are intended to reflect the variety of opinions expressed by the participants.
On July 13-14, 1999, the forum convened a workshop on Food Safety Policy, Science, and Risk Assessment: Strengthening the Connection. The purpose of the workshop was to address many of the issues that complicate the development of microbiological food safety policy, focusing on the use of science and risk assessment in establishing policy and in determining the utilization of food safety resources. The purpose was not to find fault with past food safety regulatory activities or food safety policy decisions. Rather, the goal was to determine what actions have been taken in the past to address food safety issues, to consider what influences led to the policies that were put in place, and to explore how improvements can be made in the future.
This report is a summary of the workshop presentations. It is limited to the views and opinions of those invited to present at the workshop and reflects their concerns and areas of expertise. As such, the report does not provide a comprehensive review of the research and current status of food safety policy, science, and risk assessment. The organization of the report approximates the order of the presentations at the workshop. The identification of a speaker as an "industry representative" or a "Food and Drug Administration representative" is not intended to suggest that the individual spoke for that organization or others who work there.