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From Health Law Daily, December 13, 2017

Food Advisory Committee discontinued, other standing committees will step up

By Harold Bishop, J.D.

The FDA has decided that it will not renew the charter of its Food Advisory Committee because the Committee has held only a handful of meetings over the past several years and has not met since 2015. As a result, the FDA decided that the effort and expense of maintaining the advisory committee was no longer justified. The termination of the Committee is effective immediately (Final rule, 82 FR 58553, December 13, 2017).

The Food Advisory Committee was established on March 6, 1992 (57 FR 8064) to provide advice to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs and other appropriate officials on emerging food and cosmetic safety, food science, nutrition, and other food-related health issues that the FDA considers of primary importance for its food and cosmetics programs. The Committee also provided advice and recommendations on ways of communicating to the public the potential risks associated with these issues and on approaches that might be considered for addressing the issues.

Going forward, relevant food issues will be addressed using the FDA's Science Board, the Risk Communication Advisory Committee, and through consultation with additional experts in appropriate subjects as needed. The FDA also plans to continue using its robust stakeholder engagement program and solicitation of broad public and expert input on its policy documents and regulations.

The FDA also announced that the Foods and Veterinary Medicine Program is already developing plans for 2018 to engage the FDA Science Board in the review of Food and Veterinary Medicine research priorities and to address evolving applications of whole genome sequencing technologies for regulatory food safety. In addition, the FDA plans to seek advice from the Risk Communication Advisory Committee to address best practices for communicating with consumers about unavoidable contaminants in the food supply.

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