Harnessing Knowledge to Ensure Food Safety

Those working in the food industry face an abundance of information generated by diverse institutions and individuals.

Ensuring the safety of food is critically important to the public's health and a challenge for policy-makers seeking to enhance the government's role in this arena. Although the food industry has an inherent duty to make food safe, the effectiveness of what they do is highly dependent on the quality of the information they receive on potential hazards and good practices.

In this context, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded a project under the auspices of the Food Safety Research Consortium to examine and make recommendations for improving the food safety information infrastructure (FSII). Through this initiative, a collection of food safety experts met for a series of workshops to discuss information needs around food safety.

Key Findings:

  • Establish a national FSII policy and program.
  • Build a database for tracking research and data collection.
  • Provide broader public access to journal articles and to complete data from research projects.
  • Create a networking Web site.

In this report, whose recommendations are based on those workshop discussions, the authors explore the constraints facing today's FSII. These include the diversity of the information currently available, the plethora of information sources, and the numerous agencies and actors involved in generating data.