The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC), a joint effort between the FDA, USDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has released its five-year plan for 2017 through 2021.

The IFSAC launched in 2011 to “improve coordination of federal food safety analytic efforts and address cross-cutting priorities for food safety data collection, analysis, and use.” The new plan updates the IFSAC’s initial five-year plan covering 2012 through 2016.

In developing its specific goals and objectives, the IFSAC has identified four priority pathogens: Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), and Campylobacter. Those priorities are based on estimates published by CDC in 2011 indicating the pathogens were responsible for about 21% of foodborne illnesses, 56% of related hospitalizations, and 54% of related deaths annually caused by known pathogens acquired in the United States

The IFSAC has identified three overarching goals, which are:

1.       Improve the use and quality of new and existing data sources.

2.       Improve analytic methods and models.

3.       Enhance the use of and communication about IFSAC analytic products.

Toward those goals, the new strategic plan outlines the following objectives for the period between 2017 and 2021:

·         Enhance the collection and quality of relevant source data.

·         Enhance the use of existing regulatory and foodborne illness surveillance data sources.

·         Incorporate genomic data and other novel data sources.

·         Explore ways to address key gaps in data quality, methods and models.

·         Develop new analytic approaches and models to maximize use of already available data.

·         Expand the availability of technical and scientific expertise through collaboration with internal and external partners.

·         Enhance relationships and engagement with both internal and external groups.

·         Improve the synthesis, interpretation and dissemination of analytical findings for multiple audiences.

The five-year plan is available online from the CDC.